New Security Efforts by OTT Providers Continue Despite Wiretap Concerns

By Paula Bernier March 15, 2016

Popular online entities like Facebook, Google and Snapchat continue to advance the security they deliver around their services and capabilities, and while that’s typically good news for their customers, it may be a mixed blessing overall.

The discussion about the challenges this kind of thing presents to law enforcement officials resurfaced recently when the FBI recently began pushing Apple to unlock its iPhones to help it access information on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Apple, as you probably know by now, refused.

WhatsApp, the instant messaging service that Facebook purchased for $19 billion back in February of 2014, now has encryption that makes it impossible for government entities to eavesdrop on these IM communications. As The New York Times reported in a March 12 article, the Justice Department has been working to figure out what to do next in a criminal investigation for which it got approval for a wiretap from a federal judge, but for which investigators couldn’t do that wiretap due to the WhatsApp encryption.

An Electronic Frontier Foundation blog posted earlier this week by Nate Cardozo said: “according to the New York Times, the government has obtained a wiretap order, authorizing real time acquisition of the WhatsApp messages (probably text chats rather than voice calls, but that’s unclear at this stage) in an ongoing criminal investigation. WhatsApp is, of course, unable to provide decrypted text in response to the wiretap order, just as it was unable to comply with a similar order by a Brazilian court earlier this month. The whole point of end-to-end encryption is that no one but the intended recipient of a message is able to decipher it…. For now however, we applaud WhatsApp (and Facebook) for standing strong in the face of orders, whether Brazilian or American, to do the impossible or to compromise our security for the sake of enabling click-of-the-mouse surveillance.”

Meanwhile, a CNET article by Lance Whitney posted today notes that Google is investigating whether the encryption it uses for emails today can be applies to other products, and notes a report by The Guardian that Snapchat is working to introduce a more secure messaging system.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Four Reasons to Reach for the Cloud after World Earth Day

By: Special Guest    4/23/2018

The World Earth Day agenda offers a chance to flip the rationale for cloud adoption and highlight environmental benefits that the technology brings pr…

Read More

Bloomberg BETA: Models Are Key to Machine Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    4/19/2018

James Cham, partner at seed fund Bloomberg BETA, was at Cisco Collaboration Summit today talking about the importance of models to the future of machi…

Read More

Get Smart About Influencer Attribution in a Blockchain World

By: Maurice Nagle    4/16/2018

The retail value chain is in for a blockchain-enabled overhaul, with smarter relationships, delivering enhanced transparency across an environment of …

Read More

Facebook Flip-Flopping on GDPR

By: Maurice Nagle    4/12/2018

With GDPR on the horizon, Zuckerberg in Congress testifying and Facebook users questioning loyalty, change is coming. What that change will look like,…

Read More

The Next Phase of Flash Storage and the Mid-Sized Business

By: Joanna Fanuko    4/11/2018

Organizations amass profuse amounts of data these days, ranging from website traffic metrics to online customer surveys. Collectively, AI, IoT and eve…

Read More