Thursday, April 21, 2016

700 Million People Just Got Encryption That Congress Can’t Touch

viber2.jpgClick to Open Overlay Gallery Last month, WhatsApp, the hugely popular messaging service that Facebook owns, made end-to-end encryption the default for its 1 billion users. On Tuesday, Viber said it will do the same for the 700 million people who use it.

Although Viber is smaller than WhatsApp, the repercussions of its decision to encrypt every text message, every photo, and everything else shared on its platform could be far greater. That’s because, unlike WhatsApp, Viber is not a US company. It will not be subject to US laws written by lawmakers desperate to regulate technology they do not understand. More than anything, Viber offers a powerful example of the futility of legislating encryption.

Good Vibers

The company, which launched in 2010, offered some measure of encryption from the start, says COO Michael Shmilov. Fifteen months ago, it began working toward end-to-end encryption for all data passing from person to person and across group chats, be it on a phone, a desktop, or a tablet.

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