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Technology / Hardware

Facebook, Google and Snapchat look for stronger encryption technology

Global technology firms including Facebook, Google and Snapchat are reportedly working on stronger encryption technology even as Apple confronts with the US government over encryption issues.

Though the projects may invite the anger of the authorities, they show a sign that the industry could be interested in extending its public support for Apple with a strong solution, the Guardian reported.

Security issues of Apple’s iPhones have come to the fore in the wake of investigation over the San Bernardino shooting.

Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp is looking to roll out more secure features for its messaging service in the next few weeks, in a bid to provide encryption for voice calls on its network.

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Currently, WhatsApp has nearly one billion users. Facebook is also contemplating to strengthen security features on its Messenger tool.

While Snapchat is in the process of making its messaging system more secure, search engine giant Google is finding ways to add more features for its technology.

As users find it difficult to use encrypted messaging products, many technology firms, including Twitter, never released such products, instead focused on user friendly products.

However, the companies now see an opportunity in the area amid growing need for encryption.

Silicon Valley’s companies had started working on new projects on encryption before Apple approached a federal court against the Department of Justice’s order to hack an iPhone used by a suspected terrorist.

WhatsApp has been adding strong encryption features, albeit not for all users, to its messaging services since 2014. The enhanced security features has made it hard for authorities to "tap" messages on WhatsApp network.

WhatsApp is already provided encrypted messaging for Android and iPhone users. The company plans to roll out encrypted voice calls and encrypted group messages, sources familiar with the development told the daily.

However, WhatsApp hasn’t used security features to gain more users so far, while other many encrypted messaging apps have done so.

According to the sources, WhatsApp is expected to come out with a formal announcement on increased encryption features.

The tech majors are part of a coalition of 17 tech companies who have already filed ‘amicus’ briefs backing Apple saying that "the government’s investigative arm has no legal basis" to unlock iPhones.

According to the filing, forcing Apple to unlock the phone "threatens the core principles of privacy, security, and transparency that underlie the fabric of the Internet."

FBI is asking the iPhone maker to create a mechanism wherein the security protection in its phones can be penetrated to access data of one of the San Bernardino shooters, reported Fortune.

In 2014, Google announced a project named End to End, which is aimed at giving increased encryption features for its email services. The project was designed in such a way only the sender and recipient were permitted to decode the email.

The project, which has been running slow since its start, is now gathering momentum, with employees showing their interest in it again, according to the sources close to the development.

"This has been an ongoing effort for a long time at Google," a source said. "There are lots of difficulties at Google that aren’t same at Apple."
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

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