11/23 Zach Coriarty “The future of digital communication and privacy.”

In the TED talk “The future of digital communication and privacy.”, Will Cathcart, the head of Whatsapp, talks about the effects and consequences of transitioning to an almost entirely digital communication medium.

One aspect Cathcart talks about is security, which is something he says is extremely important and that ‘end-to-end encryption’ is necessary so people can continue to communicate online without the possibility and fear of being watched. However, Cathcart then goes on to say that Whatsapp finds and detects child pornography and reports the affiliated users, which is something Apple recently came under intense scrutiny for proposing and the fact that Whatsapp does this sounds a bit contradictory.

Cathcart then goes on to talk about the balance between security and privacy, which he also thinks is important. He makes the point that not everything that can be done to ensure security should be done, putting a camera and microphone in everyone’s living room, for example.

I think it sounds like Cathcart does a good job at seeing the potential issues that communications apps can cause. I also like how WhatsApp puts such a strong emphasis on encryption because that is one of the most important lines of defense in privacy from other people and from the government. One fact that I saw a few months ago about WhatsApp is that their encryption algorithm has not yet been cracked by the CIA, which really goes to speak for where WhatsApp invests its resources.

3 thoughts on “11/23 Zach Coriarty “The future of digital communication and privacy.”

  1. Zach, you provided a really interesting summary of the TED talk and I enjoyed reading it. The strong encryption that WhatsApp has developed seems impactful and protective for consumers. The fact that the CIA cannot even figure out the encryption proves how strong it is. It will be interesting to see which companies do/which companies do not invest in more security measures, like strong encryption, over the next few decades. I think that the companies that do provide stronger security measures will be more trusted and utilized as time goes on.

  2. I also watched this TedTalk and agree with you on just how impressive it is that Whatsapp cares so much about its users privacy. I did not know about their algorithm being so secure that it has not been cracked by the CIA, but after watching this TedTalk I am not surprised. I think this is part of the reason that Whatsapp has become so popular. In addition, especially because Whatsapp is made for people in different countries talking to each other, privacy is even more important than platforms that are typically used within the same (or similar) locations.

  3. Hi Zach. I did not watch this TedTalk but I am eager to talk about it in class today. I did not know that the CIA has not been able to crack the WhatsApp code. This is very surprising since I feel as though the U.S. government always raves about how advanced our intelligence is. It is also a little concerning to think about what other platforms the CIA is unable to access.

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