Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are two of the biggest tech companies in the world, and so it is not surprising that security is a top priority. Unfortunately, both companies are under scrutiny for taking extra security measures.
Google recently unveiled Android 5.0 Lollipop with an encrypted security feature, and Apple unveiled iOS 8 with a similar feature. These features are by default. Such tight security features mean neither Google nor Android would be able to unlock a device, even if prompted by law enforcement.
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Apple challenges Department of Justice
Yesterday the Dept. of Justice criticized the tech companies for making the move. They noted that if officials could not access a user’s phone in some emergency cases, a child might die. Not everyone agrees with the DOJ’s plea. Apple claims the child kidnap scenario is inflammatory and that the government could obtain information from other sources, including telecommunications companies. This all led to a standoff between Apple and the DOJ.
Last year, former National Security Agency officer Edward Snowden revealed spy tactics used by the United States government which prompted tech companies to rethink security. Apple also encrypts data end-to-end in iMessage, but that leaves some experts concerned the new technology would make it vulnerable to snooping.
WhatsApp puts customer privacy first
Google and Apple are not the only companies making privacy a priority for their customers. WhatsApp, a popular messaging app owned by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), uses powerful encryption to protect user privacy. The app’s co-founder, Jan Koum, claims he is committed to protecting users from virtual intrusion because he grew up in the Soviet Union back in the 1980s. He watched his mother and other adults routinely assume local authorities were eavesdropping on their calls.
WhatsApp uses TextSecure to ensure messages can only be read by senders and recipients, even if the company is under a subpoena. Since the encryption is default, WhatsApp users don’t have to turn the feature on.