Privacy – What(sApp) Privacy?

With recent events drawing increasing attention to the privacy of technology users, the controversy surrounding our rights when using online devices is a topic that is likely to remain in the public domain – and in the headlines – for quite some time. Certainly, if this past couple of weeks are anything to go by, we can expect to hear a LOT more on this subject.

I remember a friend once telling me, when WhatsApp was a relatively new phenomenon, that she refused to use the messaging platform as she was concerned that people would be snooping on her exchanges. I admit that at the time I thought it was a little extreme, after all, if you have nothing to hide then what is the problem?

What’s more (in the nicest possible way) why would anyone care? In our case, this is most probably true; no one else would care about our yawn-inducing conversations, mainly debating what we plan to wear on a Saturday night or where we are meeting for our next coffee, tea or maybe even wine in my case.

But, equally, there is a very real issue at stake on both sides of the argument.

Whilst the majority of the country seems to have conveniently forgotten that we are watched on security cameras for the most part of our lives and have no qualms about publicising the juicy details of their latest break-up or make-up on social media, the potential that our personal conversations could be monitored is deemed by some to be a step too far. I have to agree that it does make me feel a tad uncomfortable – despite having no particularly riveting conversations to share.

However, on the other side of the argument, with end-to-end encryption protecting our personal conversations, this does unfortunately provide the perfect cover for those who are up to no good, which raises the very serious question about whether we should reconsider our stance on the importance of our unwavering privacy in the interests of public safety.

Whilst I can’t claim to be an expert in this field, and I realise that it will be far from simple to remedy, it has certainly provided me with some food for thought and I will be keeping updated with all of the news on this one.