WhatsApp end-to-end encryption – Pros and ConsIntroduction:
The battle between government worldwide and tech companies about encryption had flared up with the clash between FBI and Apple regarding the unlocking of phone to have access to the private information inside the iPhones of those in question. WhatsApp made its own personal contribution to support the tech companies by bringing end-to-end encryption to all of its messages.
Earlier it was easier for government or cybercrime branch or even hackers for that matter to have access to your WhatsApp conversations and the files that you sent or received through the app – Not that this stopped delinquents from anything but only made gathering evidence against them easier.
However, there have always been security issues for common people who are constantly worried that their privacy could be easily invaded and that sending or receiving pictures or videos over the app could actually be unsafe. With end-to-end encryption, your messages are so safe that even WhatsApp couldn’t get access to them even if they wanted to.Pros:1. Privacy secured :
There have been higher demands for making messages more secure due to more and more threats of hackers taking hold of data transfer over Wi-Fi and other means. Even though phones are becoming more secure from viruses, security of messages you send over social networks has always faced threats of being spied upon and subject to abuse from cybercriminals. From now onwards, it will be impossible for anyone else to lay hands over messages, pictures, videos, files and voice messages that you share with your contacts or groups.2. No government spies :
In many countries politicians and government were fighting against strong encryption and voting for banning of such technologies to be replaced by those who have ‘backdoors’ to have access over messages whenever needed or in doubt. The problem with this is a total loss of privacy. You could simply be suspected over no good reason and your private life could be brought to the front, traumatizing innocents and tainting their reputation for the rest of their life. There have been many cases when suspects were dragged into controversies that did not had anything to do with the original case.3. Connecting people better :
People talk more freely with others when they are sure that their conversation will remain to themselves while if you are aware that some random person could be eavesdropping on your conversation, it will most likely be a little fabricated, making it less real. With the end-to-end encryption, it would be like talking to someone in person, as in face to face conversation. You are sure that it will not be picked up by any hacker or spy agents. People will connect more and those who kept away from social networking due to these apprehensions will consider being a part of the technology now.4. Right to keep private life confidential :
Celebrities often land in controversies and are generally found to be struggling to keep their private life confidential. Most often we saw how WhatsApp text contents were used to taint the images of some television stars by getting hold of their private chat messages. Either these were framed or actually hacked information is yet to be confirmed but the loophole for backdoor was always a pain to deal with since the possibility of being hacked always remained in public network especially. Even celebrities have the right to keep their personal life and private conversation safe from public eyes and the encryption is just the right answer to their prayers.5. Shared network :
With more and more people resorting to save money by sharing data over a single hotspot, it was very much essential to have such end-to-end encryption so prevent shared content from falling into wrong hands. There have previously been reports of fake hotspots at some public places, installed by hackers to have access to the flow of information from your system and to misuse them later against you.Cons :1. Party for criminals :
There always lingered the fear of information being tracked by cyber departments and hence lawbreakers should have been actually a tad apprehensive about the usage of technology. Now that they know there will be no tracking of what you send over WhatsApp to the other person, people with sick mind games will use it to their advantage without fearing law. There have been so many cases in India, where the cooperation of the cybercrime branch led to the exposure of criminals along with proper evidence to prove them convict. Gone is that facility now.2. Misuse of technology :
How is WhatsApp or any other social networking site that would follow the example of this, going to ban and block hate spreading content or any such misdemeanors now? Freedom beyond the limits of laws are going to be a problem if no one is on the other end to keep a track on illegal activities that could be advertised or propagated through internet. Since WhatsApp is for one-to-one conversations some will argue that there would be no hate spreading going on what about group chats? Could they not be used to lay down troublemaking plans?3. Challenges :
There are many compatibility issues are that faced during data encryption and now that the app runs on cross platforms it will be even more difficult to determine if the technology would actually come up to the standards of providing as much security and privacy as is being talked about. They are also known to have negative effects on operation within the system. Unrealistic standards and expectations of the users could lead to bigger problems that are covered yet.4. Law and order overlooked :
When government would not be able to access information that is suspected or needs to be dug out there will be questions of law and order being overlooked at the face of confidentiality of users. It would be like giving priority to messaging privacy over safety of citizens from fraudsters and terrorists.Conclusion :
The end-to-end encryption system by WhatsApp is making users happy but at the same time agitating the upholders of law and order. People would no longer be quizzed about what they had with a person who could be a suspect. Innocents would no longer have to fear being involved with a wrong friend who could land him in trouble.
With strategic planning and leaving out options for monitoring suspect behavior, this could be a successful measure that will attract orthodox people who have been apprehensive about sharing things on social network.