Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

WeChat Is Watching You

If you ever use WeChat, the Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent, you need to read the article by Barclay Bram in the Nautilus web site at http://nautil.us/issue/73/play/wechat-is-watching.

After reading the article, you probably will want to immediately uninstall the WeChat app from your computer devices.

WeChat is sort of the Chinese equivalent of Facebook or WhatsApp. WeChat has more than 1 billion active users. Since it is entirely in Chinese, probably very few readers of this blog are using WeChat. However, the government spying performed by WeChat could easily be incorporated into most any online chat software, even those in any other languages.

Under pressure from various governments, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other chat applications could easily and surreptitiously add similar spy software to allow various governments, corporations, and worldwide hackers to read everything you send and receive. These proprietary apps could do so without ever letting their users know about the online spying. Perhaps some of them have already done so. George Orwell predicted similar things years ago and more and more of his predictions have become true in the 21st century.

This is simply another reason why you should only use open source applications where you or anyone else can examine the source code to look for security problems. Even if you are not a programmer yourself, we all can trust multiple other people who do have programming skills to examine the source code of these apps for us and then to report the results to everyone.

You can find a number of open source chat products by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22open+source%22+chat&atb=v132-2_j&ia=web.

My favorite texting app is Signal, an open source text, voice, and video chat product with millions of users. Millions of already existing users of any text app means it should be easier to convince your relatives, friends, and business associates to switch to the same app. There simply are more people to chat with and it probably is easier to encourage others to switch to a popular app.

Signal is available at https://www.signal.org/ and the Signal source code is easily available for examination.

Who is eavesdropping on YOUR conversations?

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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