Data encryption has been around for many years, but it’s taken on a more political tone within the past few years. There has been a robust market push to encrypt messages and data on smartphones, but there has also been a strong pushback from governments who need a backdoor for the sake of security or other interests. For companies like Facebook, however, encrypting data like WhatsApp messages is both a selling factor and a possible business killer. The social networking giant is allegedly researching ways to still glean some juicy data for advertising purposes without breaking the safety of encrypted data.
Whether information is stored on phones or messages sent through communication services, encrypted data is meant to keep unauthorized eyes from viewing the info. That has not just hackers and criminals but also law enforcers and corporations. For businesses that believe such information for targeted ads, meaning having no access to good data points.
However, there could be how for companies like Facebook to truly have their encrypted cake and eat it too. Alongside Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, to call a couple of, tech giants are pouring resources into a field referred to as homomorphic encryption. In a nutshell, the goal is to analyze encrypted data without decrypting it, which might imply weak encryption or backdoors.
This could be a gold mine for Facebook, of course, because it could allow the corporate to glean enough data for targeted advertising without actually backtracking on its public commitment to securing its users’ privacy. How it plans to form that happen will mostly depend on how successful the research will be, but it’s a definite possibility considering the massive companies behind it. So naturally, those large companies would also enjoy such a way of extracting personal information from encrypted data.
Facebook tells the knowledge, however, that it’s too early to associate this research with encrypted WhatsApp data. The social media company has already been grilled without stopping about its questionable privacy practices, and any suggestion that it’s performing on how to urge around security safeguards will undoubtedly hurt its image even further.