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WhatsApp, and David Cameron's war on encryption

2 min read

Much has been made about David Cameron's war on encryption, and the Tory government's plans to reintroduce the Snooper's charter.

This Wired article makes some good points, one of them being that this could all just be a political ploy - make a lot of scary noise, but don't give any firm details, so that anything they eventually put forward seems "reasonable" by comparison.

Often mentioned in these articles is WhatsApp, as an example of an end to end encrypted channel that the government can't break into. However, I'd just like to present this datapoint which indicates that the Israeli army routinely intercept WhatsApp traffic, among other things.

This is just one data point, and I make no claims as to which of the two articles is correct, or more likely to be correct, and the 972 article certainly doesn't go into much detail. However, if true, it does make me wonder why it is that WhatsApp is specifically mentioned (together with other proprietary solutions) whenever our media talk about the intelligence agencies "going dark".

I'm not drawing any conclusions, necessarily... but it is... interesting.

Is WhatsApp private and secure? Mmmm... maybe... Point is, as it's a proprietary product, we have absolutely no way of verifying, so you can't really trust it.

What we can say with near certainty is that the bad guys aren't using it, and never were. So, I suspect that this is all just smoke and mirrors, or at least our media landscape trying to make sense of very technically complex and subtle issues.

Something to ponder...