👁Personal Privacy: Hell, Purgatory and (Mini) Paradise of Texting Apps/Dapps
Innovation Intelligence: technology and defence from big-brother in texting
The current period is the advanced stage of big-brother entry. Laws, on the one hand, are unable to protect citizens from the plundering of their data-rights by the protagonists of surveillance capitalism. The most advanced forms of expression in this sense such as, for example, the new CCPA which has come into being in California, has the same limits as the European GDPR: they are light years back the technology outstanding, and available to the various organizations for their purposes. That, above all, for the ‘natural’ causes on which we focused many times in these pages.
However, ‘natural’ causes do not exhaust the argument. In fact abrogation of constitutional rights in democratic countries, in the name of security otherwise presented (national / economic / for organized and not crime and / for hate speech…), is leading legislation also to the rule-based looting of the data-rights of citizens by the bodies responsible. In doing so, politic must fill the natural gap, about technological knowledge, relying on (and coming to terms with) the same private organizations that create the gap for their own purposes.
The loop to the detriment of the citizen is therefore perfect and is resolved in the imposition of the big brother: everyday life without the digital component is as now impossible as taking away our lives from public and private control.
Of course, neither the right of everyone to pursue their own interests through technological innovation nor the right/duty of the public components to safeguard the various aspects of security is questioned. The aberration is that in doing so they trample the data-rights that, by virtue of the natural gap due to innovation, the individual is not aware of owning.
The solution is referred to the individual counter-intelligence, to the awareness of the individual by activism and the implementation of contrast measures for the preservation of one’s privacy. The market slowly but inexorably is moving towards the areas of solutions that innovatively support it. One of these is texting.
The precise differences between the main different available apps can be found online but they do not take into account the Dapps, the W3C (WEB 3.0) applications, which are the most relevant novelty. Conceptually, the privacy discourse of texting, at present, can be imagined by chasing the mental display of concentric circles.
The initial assumption is that (almost) all the apps allow the encryption of peer2peer messages: so you are quite sure to talk with the recipient chosen in advance, that only it reads the conversation and that in transmission the conversation can not be intercepted. In the outer circle (the hill) are placed the applications belonging to the big-one (GAAFA, GAAFAM…) which, being centralized, have at least the metadata (identification) of the conversations on their servers: they can be provided (sold) to anyone and used, by those who have the servers, for any purpose. Moreover, the different iMessage, Skype, WhatsApp,…do not have open-source platforms: therefore it is not known what their software actually does. Being extremely widespread, they are also the preferred malware carriers, as the penetration is very high and the development of bad-sotfware is relatively easy. Finally, the owners of the applications being in the pay, for market reasons, to the various regimes: so there is no security the apps continue to work in crisis situations, as the latest example from Hong Kong shows. These applications are to be used when privacy (who, how, where, when) does not matter, otherwise to be avoided like the plague, as much as SMS.
The middle circle (the purgatory) is composed by independent applications, e.g. Telegram, Signal, Cofide…. If on the one hand they are open source (and if not, like Telegram, they undergo independent audits), so it is possible to control the software, on the other hand they have to deal with the market penetration, essential to survival. This translates into the national security requirements imposed by different countries which, occasionally and for certain legitimate purposes, has led to the massive deletion of accounts. This is the recent case of Telegram, which provided for the cancellation of accounts directly and indirectly connected to IS: in this way accounts even if not relevant for the purposes have been closed (and reported to the authorities, violating their privacy) and, above all, the migration of the bandits to other different applications has been favoured, with burden of intelligence work. The use of the applications of purgatory is recommended for normal privacy reasons with attention to the nature of the interlocutor who, involuntarily, might create problems.
Finally the inner circle (paradise, for now). Beside the applications work on TOR, or in any case on DeepWeb, which (generalizing) if free are not easy to configure (for normal people) and if paying friendly-use but expensive, the market is bringing out texting Dapps such as Status and BCM. They are based on W3C and distributed networks (blockchain) and, for this and for now, technically ensure the maximization of privacy required for effective protection of data-right. They are progressively articulating to provide the services (video, files…) that characterize hell and purgatory.
The final assumption of obviousness. Clearly there’s no security texting app:
- for control inoculation, if for any reason to someone is given a way to physically handle your devices and/or you answer to (or opening files from) someone you don’t know (and also to those who you know, as the ‘weird’ case of Jeff Bezos shows),
- if you keep texts within your device, or in the provider clouds, if the device is seized/stolen;
- if do not pay attention, when you have privacy needs, to the choice of applications that allow: (a) the destruction of conversations in the interlocutor’s account; (b) the impossibility for the interlocutor to make snap-shots.
This is an English adaptation of a neuronal Italian/English AI translation by DeepL