Posted: Nov 30, 2021 18:29 GMT
Despite the fact that both platforms promise their users maximum security and data protection, the US agency itself describes them as the most permissive that exist.
An FBI document that was released massively this Monday has revealed the scope of Personal information that the US agency is able to collect from popular messaging applications such as Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp, using a court order or a subpoena.
The report, dated January 7, 2021 and jointly prepared by the FBI’s Science and Technology and Operational Technology divisions, reveals the different means available to the agency to extract confidential data from users of nine messaging platforms. , specifically Apple’s iMessage, Line, Signal, Telegram, Threema, Viber, Tencent’s WeChat, Meta’s WhatsApp, and Wickr.
As detailed in the Rolling Stone magazine publication, WhatsApp can provide information practically in real time about a user and their activities thanks to the metadata it generates. Although the FBI cannot directly access the messages, it has other valuable data about the spied user at its disposal, such as their contacts and communication log.
“That WhatsApp offers all this information is devastating for a journalist who communicates with a confidential source,” warned Daniel Kahn Gillmor, technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Likewise, the FBI document reveals that another technology giant, Apple, has the obligation to provide basic information about its users, as well as 25-day logs of iMessage activity. In addition, with a court order, the US agency has the right to access real messages sent and received that can be stored in iCloud.
Despite the fact that both WhatsApp and iMessage promise their clients maximum security and protection of their data, the FBI document itself describes both applications as the most permissive that exist. In comparison, the Signal platform provides only the date and time the user signs up and connects. For its part, Wickr provides data about the device, the date of creation of the account and basic information of the subscriber.
“Privacy is essential to democracy. The ease with which the FBI monitors our data online, extracting the intimate details of our daily lives, threatens us all and paves the way for an authoritarian government“said Ryan Shapiro, CEO of Property of the People, the Washington-based organization that released the report.
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