Last week, EU co-legislators agreed to the Digital Markets Act which is the region’s effort to tame big tech.
The legislation aims to make what it calls “gatekeeper platforms” – tech companies with a market capitalization of more than €75 billion or a user base of more than 45 million people in the European Union – to make their products cross-compatible with smaller platforms, especially for messaging apps.
The EU’s need for messaging platforms to be interoperable has privacy and security experts worried about how the act would break the end-to-end encryption of these messaging platforms, especially WhatsApp.
Cryptographers fear that messaging platforms that use different encryption standards will have to compromise their protocols to fit in and that their conversations will no longer be secured.
Another fear is that providers will have to be trusted to handle cryptographic identity.
“Trying to reconcile two different cryptographic architectures simply can’t be done; one side or the other will have to make major changes. A design that works only when both parties are online will look very different from one that works with stored messages… How do you make those two systems interoperate?” asks internet security researcher and professor of computer science at Columbia University, Steven Bellovin while speaking to the Verge.
“There is no way to allow for end-to-end encryption without trusting every provider to handle the identity management… If the goal is for all of the messaging systems to treat each other’s users exactly the same, then this is a privacy and security nightmare,” adds the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former chief security officer at Facebook, Alex Stamos.
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