Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp and a Facebook board member, has decided to be on Apple’s side together with Google in its fight with the FBI over encryption. WhatsApp support to Apple has been made very clear in a message posted on Facebook by Koum in person who stated: ” I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.”
But let’s take a step back to see what happened. The federal court asked Apple to unblock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino’s terror attack because the FBI is investigating possible links to Isis militants. Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, is not only fighting this decision but also wrote a letter addressed to Apple customers which is being shared on social media.
That’s what Tim Cook wrote: “The US Government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create,“. Cook also added that Apple was “shocked and outraged” and that “We have no sympathy for terrorists.”
WhatsApp was in a similar situation in December, when the multi-platform mobile messaging app was banned from Brazil for a full day. The reason was the refusal to observe two local court orders. Encryption is a long debated issue.
In 2014 WhatsApp decided tu use the TextSecure protocol, allowing in this way the central service to switch off encryption at any time and without notifying its users. This means that WhatsApp could face in the future legal actions similar to that one that Apple is facing. Terror threat is giving a hard time to new media, and, as a result, we are now witnessing to attempts of censorship and also users’ privacy seems to be in dangerous water.