According to an investigation conducted by 17 US prosecutors, Google failed to specify that WhatsApp conversations recorded on Google Drive were not end-to-end encrypted. What to worry more about the confidentiality offered by the application.
Decidedly, WhatsApp has continued controversy in recent weeks. In September 2021, a report revealed that WhatsApp allegedly lied about end-to-end message encryption. In reality, conversations encrypted and reported by users (whether for insults, or sharing inappropriate content for example) would be accessible by hundreds of Facebook employees.
As for the social network, it is caught as you may know in an unprecedented media tornado after the shattering revelations of the whistleblower on the inner workings of Facebook. Already weakened by these cases, WhatsApp and Google will have to respond to these additional accusations.
Indeed, in the context of a lawsuit for several violations of antitrust rules, a PDF document concerning the privacy of WhatsApp conversations saved on Google Drive has been disclosed. Launched in 2015, saving WhatsApp conversations on Google Drive is intended to be extremely practical, especially when a user wants to change their smartphone, for example. At that time, the Google and WhatsApp teams assured that conversations remained encrypted when switching to Google Drive.
Also read: WhatsApp strengthens backup security with end-to-end encryption
Google hid the truth so as not to harm its business
Except that this PDF document has just proven the opposite. According to the 17 attorneys general who signed the complaint, this internal memo proves that the WhatsApp teams have “failed to specify that data shared from WhatsApp to third-party services does not benefit from the same guarantee. This includes Google Drive backups ”.
By going through this internal memo, we learn that Google intended to clarify the situation so that “users know that when WhatsApp media files are shared with third parties such as Drive, the files are no longer encrypted by WhatsApp ”. Problem, Google was rather slow to do so.
For magistrates, Google has chosen to keep this information secret in order to do not stop the growth of Google Drive, which thanks to WhatsApp, has won no less than 750 million new accounts (according to Google’s internal document). “In short, Google had no problem violating the privacy of nearly a billion users if it helped them grow their business ”, they assert. Recently, Google clearly shows the lack of end-to-end encryption on content saved on Google Drive.