Issues around privacy and freedom are very dear to me but they’ve come under a lot of pressure in recent years. So, it’s no surprise I was hooked by an article with the catchy headline “Why I told my friends to stop using WhatsApp and Telegram. Even with end-to-end encryption Big Brother is still in your phone: metadata.” Metadata (and Facebook I admit) is the very reason I refuse to give in to the pressure from friends to use WhatsApp.
Reading an article, or two, on Medium has become part of my daily early-morning routine. In today’s fast paced digital world it’s pure joy to read content by mostly smart individuals who are still capable of expressing themselves in more than 140 chars and without bootloads of emojis. Medium and Aeon, to just name two, are such platforms. Medium is, as per Wikipedia,
an online publishing platform developed by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and launched in August 2012. […] The platform is an example of evolved social journalism, having a hybrid collection of amateur and professional people and publications, or exclusive blogs or publishers on Medium and is regularly regarded as a blog host.
So, there’s this great Medium article about the problem with messaging services marketed as “secure”. It analyzes the problems with popular services such as WhatsApp and it does so in layman’s terms. If you work in the tech industry and care just slightly more about privacy than the average Joe there’s very little surprises in that article – you know that metadata is a major issue with all those services. However, how do you explain that to folks who don’t care yet? The article quotes from a 2013 blog post by the EFF which really nails it. Metadata is when…
- They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don’t know what you talked about.
- They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
- They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don’t know what was discussed.
If this now makes you wonder how your trusted messaging service rates in terms of security and privacy I invite you to scan securemessagingapps.com. But before you do…allow me two questions: are all the emails you send around the globe encrypted? And what about email metadata?*
* the point being of course that you need to look at the whole secure messaging picture