April 22, 2018 12:08:11 pm
Google has been slammed by Amnesty International’s Technology and Human Rights researcher Joe Westby for a new “Chat” feature that will not be encrypted. Westby called the decision to launch a messaging service without end-to-end encryption “baffling” and said the move aims to show Google’s “utter contempt for the privacy of Android users” as it easily allows cybercriminals and government spies to access to take control of users’ private communication.
From a security point of view, Google’s upcoming “Chat” service is not secure, unlike Apple’s iMessage and Facebooks’s WhatsApp. The latter two chat apps have end-to-end encryption that secures people’s privacy when using messaging apps. Ironically, Google’s own Allo chat app offers full end-to-end encryption.
“In the wake of the recent Facebook data scandal, Google’s decision is not only dangerous but also out of step with current attitudes to data privacy. It means Google will now be actively encouraging Android phone users to give up their privacy by switching to a service where their communications are effectively there for all to see”, Westby said in a statement.
End-to-end encryption simply means that data (all messages, photos, videos, voice and video calls) is fully encrypted. The system assures that only the sender and receiver of a message can view the information. Westby suggests Google should immediately scrap the upcoming “Chat” service in its current form and instead focus on giving consumers a “product that protects their privacy”.
Earlier this week, The Verge reported that Google plans to launch a new “Chat” service that will replace the default “messages” app on Android. It is not going to be an app, rather the technology will be based on the Universal Profile for RCR. (Rich Communication Service). Think the RCS as an evolution of SMS (Short Message Service). Google is currently working with 50 carriers worldwide and dozens of smartphone manufacturers to support the standard. According to the report, Google has already suspended the development of Allo, a messaging app it launched two years ago.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.