Whatsapp Is Spying On You - watsupptoday.com
Whatsapp Is Spying On You
Posted 06 Feb 2020 06:07 PM


Have you ever googled a product and then found it advertising on your Facebook feed a few seconds later?

Is it a wild coincidence that your Instagram feed is filled with endless pictures of aviator glasses right after you googled 'How to wear aviator glasses'?

Just like I did, you might find this quite invasive and creepy but still somewhat acceptable as the price you pay for free social media.

Still, what happened to me the other day was the first real wave of targeted advertisement that made me sit up in my chair and look around.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister was telling me over Whatsapp how hard she wanted to quit her diet and go nuts with Magnum ice creams. Then as if by magic, Magnum was all over my social media.

I've never bought ice cream from Magnum, I've never googled it, and I don't follow them on any social network — It was not on my radar whatsoever.

A coincidence? Yeah, for sure, Mr. Zuckerberg.

Facebook data Collection
After being spooked by the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal, a lot of users were prompted to download all the data that Facebook stores on their account.

Little did they know, Facebook had been collecting call records[1] and SMS data from their devices. Some even reported finding years of call history data in their downloadable Facebook data file.

"Oh, wow, my Facebook file contains info on every single cell phone call and text I made for about a year."
"Somehow, it has my entire call history with my partner's mum."
And just when I was thinking — “Oh boy, this is bad” — I stumbled upon an article from Lifehackers written by Nick Douglas[2], and it got way worse.

"Facebook's mobile app theoretically could listen in on you, at least while you have it open.
It even has a public feature that will try to recognize any audio in the background, like music or TV — but only while you're entering a status update.

Facebook says this feature is never used for advertising."

Whatsapp Data Collection
You might be thinking, "ok, maybe Facebook is listening, but aren't WhatsApp chats encrypted anyway"?

According to Facebook[3]...
"When you are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your encrypted messages stay private, and no one else can read them.
Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else."

The language is clear: End-to-end encryption prevents Facebook from snooping on your chats, right? Mmm, not so fast.

Facebook could potentially access your WhatsApp chats. In fact, it could easily access your entire chat history.
Have you ever noticed that WhatsApp keeps being "helpful" and aggressively suggesting you turn on the chat backup?
Well, the small detail they are not telling you is the fact that your chat backups are uploaded without end-to-end encryption.
This means that programs like Elcomsoft Explorer can download and decrypt your WhatsApp communication histories stored in Google Drive.

Want me to blow your mind?

Go look at your WhatsApp backup settings. Last time I checked, mine was a 1.17 GB file.

If you take into account that a text file of 1MB contains an average of 677 pages, that 1.17 GB backup has 792,000 pages of my private conversations!
If all of this wasn't creepy enough, there's Facebook's new vision for a "better-moderated platform."
Basically, they are planning to add content moderation and blacklist filtering algorithms to all their services, including WhatsApp.

This means that the app would scan all your messages as they're being typed on your phone before they get encrypted. If a violation is found, your messages will be sent directly to Facebook for further action.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of using this kind of tech for preventing hate speech and cyberbullying. However, security experts have warned that a move like this is identical to creating a backdoor within the device.

Security expert Bruce Schneier[5] said:

'Once this is in place, it is easy for the government to demand that Facebook add another filter –– that searches for communications that they care about — and alert them when it gets triggered.

Few Safe Alternatives

Is this really happening?

Well, there's no way to be 100% sure, but it seems to me all the necessary tools are there, so I'm leaving the whole Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp trinity — better safe than sorry.

I'm not telling you to do the same, but if you want to, there’s a couple of safe alternatives.

There's Signal, a messaging app backed by Edward Snowden, which presumes to have the highest security protocols ever. This one doesn't even store your phone number, so it certainly gives you some peace of mind.

The second one is the already trendy Telegram,The fact that it's also a favorite of ISIS is a downer, but then Putin just banned it in Russia, and if Putin says it's bad, it has to be damn good!

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