Amnesty International, a global organization aimed to end abuses of human rights, studied encryption of multiple chat apps. They examined the end-to-end encryption, privacy policies, and information sharing aspects of these apps, which includes Facebook, Apple, Google, Skype, and SnapChat. Google, Blackberry, and Tencent (who scored zero in their encryption examination!) declined AI in investigating their privacy policies, which doesn’t surprise me. Why would they want their users to know that their personal data and information are not privately protected?
Notice that none of the chat apps examined scored above 75. Out of 100, that is a low score. I believe it’s accurate to assume that none of the social media apps are completely secure in protecting users’ information.
The fact that SnapChat scored low is alarming. SnapChat includes pictures being sent back and forth, and with their encryption scores being so low, these pictures can be easily seen by anyone, including hackers and company employees. SnapChat has end-to-end encryption as an “opt-in” feature, instead of a default feature, which AI says should always be a default to protect humans’ privacy rights. I’d hope that people would be educated enough to opt-in, but since many are uneducated about it, they’ll choose not to. If people were more aware of how their personal privacy on these apps is being invaded, then they would live a smarter life in the digital world.
The government has been constantly pressuring companies into providing them with access to all user data. WhatsApp was actually banned in Brazil because they wouldn’t provide the Brazilian authorities with access. Apps like WhatsApp must include the exchange of information, which actually is a huge part of how apps function.
By tracking and collecting user data, the apps are able to perform their purpose – helping people communicate. However, the collection of this information can be used against you. For example, if you say something to a friend about needing new shoes, an advertisement can pop up for DSW. This is alarming – people are using your information against you. I hope people are intelligent enough to realize that the government wants to keep tabs on Americans in any way possible, and a major way of doing that would be through social media because of its impact on our culture.