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Big Technology

‘If you’re talking about break encryption, it’s really hard for me to imagine being comfortable with it’

Will Cathcart

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Will Cathcart runs WhatsApp, the 2 billion user app that’s the de facto tool for messaging and calling for many across the globe. Cathcart joins the Big Technology Podcast to discuss Facebook’s feud with Apple, its battle with Signal, its…


Big Technology

What happens next with the 2 billion-plus user messaging app, and the company that runs it

Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

When WhatsApp head Will Cathcart dialed into our call last Friday, his 2 billion user slice of the Facebook empire was in the thick of it, as usual. WhatsApp had just weathered a bungled privacy update that sent panicked users to Signal and Telegram. It was scrambling to make sense of a new Indian law that might force it to break encryption. And it was preparing to roll out desktop voice and video calling — which it introduced today.

Cathcart took questions on a variety of topics. And through winks and nods, he indicated where his app — and Facebook…


A forum for young orphans to grieve together thrives on the world’s most popular messaging platform

Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

My parents both died in the early 2000s, before my 20th birthday. Becoming an orphan long before anyone else you know is incredibly isolating. People who have not had the experience find it hard to understand you; all too often, they’re frightened by the depth of the loss. And it is difficult to find other people who can relate. I never thought that I’d eventually find them on WhatsApp.

Over the past two months, I have chatted daily with about 60 other people in a WhatsApp group chat for young orphans. …


A 1,000-person WhatsApp community keeps delivery workers safe

Illustration: Glenn Harvey

On a recent Tuesday night, Luisa Amezquita, a Rappi company delivery worker, was headed home after her last drop-off of the evening when her motorcycle broke down. She was miles from home, and nervous. So she reached out for the only help she could think of.

“Is anyone awake? I’ve been trying to get home since 10 p.m. and still I haven’t made it,” she texted to a WhatsApp group of women food delivery workers in Mexico City. Stephanie Rojas, who manages the WhatsApp group, started making phone calls.

Rojas contacted Saúl Gómez of the collective Ni un repartidor menos…


Credit: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Government whistleblowing is harder than just downloading an app. Earlier this month, California Congressman Ted Lieu shared an article on Twitter, detailing options for federal employees who want to leak unclassified information, including the use of encrypted messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram.

But disclosing sensitive information to the press may be risky, particularly for a federal employee. The decision to blow the whistle could cost them their livelihood, freedom, or worse.

At the Freedom of the Press Foundation, we build software to support whistleblowers, conduct newsroom security trainings, and organize security resources for journalists. …


The company is fighting back against rumors that it would scan messages on users’ phones prior to encryption

Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Billions of people use the messaging tool WhatsApp, which added end-to-end encryption for every form of communication available on its platform back in 2016. This ensures that conversations between users and their contacts — whether they occur via text or voice calls — are private, inaccessible even to the company itself.

But several recent posts published to Forbes’ blogging platform call WhatsApp’s future security into question. The posts, which were written by contributor Kalev Leetaru, allege that Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, plans to detect abuse by implementing a feature to scan messages directly on people’s phones before they are encrypted…


Zuckerberg’s “privacy-focused vision” for social media misses some big problems

Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images Plus

Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the future of Facebook may look a little more like WhatsApp, the private messaging service his company acquired for $19 billion back in 2015.

“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” he wrote in a blog post about his “privacy-focused vision for social networking.”

Zuckerberg’s manifesto misses something big: WhatsApp and other private messaging services have, at times, enabled deeply toxic communications.

Not surprisingly, rumors have…

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