A leaked FBI document revealed that ‘private information’ applications WhatsApp from Meta (formerly Facebook) and iMessage from Apple are the most permissive in sharing the contents entrusted by their users with this agency.
Titled “Lawful Access,” the documentation was created on Jan. 7, 2021, by the FBI’s Science and Technology Section and Operational Technology Division and revealed this week by Rolling Stone.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp users massively abandoned this messaging platform, concerned about the effects of an update heavily criticized at the time.
Whatsapp replied that it did not “keep records of who everyone sent to or called,” a claim that is undermined by the FBI’s leaked “Legal Access” document.
WhatsApp’s response did not stop a flood of subscribers from switching to Signal and Telegram, including tech billionaire Elon Musk.
“WhatsApp offering all of this information is devastating to a reporter communicating with a confidential source,” American Civil Liberties Union senior technologist Daniel Kahn Gillmor told Rolling Stone.
Among its procedures, Meta’s application is the only one that collects every 15 minutes the information provided by each of its users, detailing its origin, destination, and time. It also records all the user’s calls and contacts.
Likewise, through a court order, it delivers to the FBI the “subscriber records,” the “address book contacts,” and the “blocked users.”
On the other hand, even if the Internet users go to deposit a backup copy in the cloud, it can be obtained by the FBI to see the actual content of the messages.
In this sense, the Center for Democracy and Technology director, Mallory Knodel, warned: “You’re handing someone else the key to hold onto on your behalf.”
She also determined, “the most popular encrypted messaging apps iMessage and WhatsApp are also the most permissive.”
Between WhatsApp and iMessage, they collect the data of around 3.3 billion people, while privacy-focused Telegram hosts 550 million users on its platform.
Remarkably, it is the same FBI document that claims that the most secure apps are Telegram and Signal, given that they did not provide the content of messages. Telegram did not give “any contact information” to the FBI even with a court order.
After the increasing censorship and invasion of privacy of Internet users, social networks and messaging applications have generated a lot of dissatisfaction, evidencing a significant gap in this regard.
Everything seems to indicate that the new alternative to the free, secure, and uncensored exchange of information is offered by the new communications company created by former U.S. President Donald Trump, the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG).
“Trump Media & Technology Group’s mission is to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley. Which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America,” says the statement released by the Save America PAC.
According to the release, the Truth Social network will launch a trial version in November of this year and is now available in the Apple Store for pre-order.