A number of popular instant messaging services are failing to provide an adequate level of encryption, putting users’ human rights at risk, warns Amnestry International.
Its Message Privacy Ranking assesses the 11 most popular messaging apps for data privacy and freedom of expression. Chinese firm Tencent came bottom, scoring zero out of 100, followed by Blackberry, Snapchat and Microsoft (Skype), with respective scores of 20, 26 and 40. None of these companies provide end-to-end encryption of users’ communications.
Facebook’s apps, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, scored highest, with 73 out of 100. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption by default and provides clear information about encryption within the app. Facebook Messenger’s default mode uses a weaker form of encryption, but has a new ‘secret conversation’ feature that includes end-to-end encryption.
Apple (67 out of 100) provides full end-to-end encryption for all communications on its iMessage and Facetime apps but, according to Amnesty, needs to do more to make users aware that SMS messages are less secure than iMessages.
Amnesty’s Message Privacy Ranking, from best to worst:
1. Facebook – Messenger and Whatsapp
6. Viber media
7. Kakao Inc
8. Microsoft – Skype