TECHNOLOGY

How metadata from encrypted messages can keep everyone safe


the future encrypted. Real-time encrypted chat apps like Signal and WhatsApp and messaging apps like Telegram, WeChat and Messenger — use it Two out of five people Worldwide — to help protect privacy and facilitate our rights to organize, speak freely, and stay in close contact with our communities.

They are intentionally designed for convenience and speed, for interpersonal as well as large group communication. However, it was these same circumstances that fueled abusive and illegal behavior, disinformation, hate speech, deception and deception. All at the expense of the vast majority of its users. As early as 2018, investigative reports explored the role these features played in dozens of deaths India and Indonesia as well as elections in Nigeria and Brazil. The ease with which users can forward messages without checking their accuracy means that misinformation can do so diffusion Quickly, discreetly and widely. Some apps allow very large groups — up to 200,000—or played host Encrypted advertising Machines, moving away from the original vision to simulate a “Living room.” Some platforms have suggested that they are profit-driven Policy changes, allowing business users to take advantage of customer data in new and invasive ways, ultimately eroding privacy.

In response to the damages enabled by these apps, Prominent Governments She urged the platforms to implement so-called backdoors or use automated client-side scans of messages. But solutions like this undermine everyone’s basic freedoms and put many users at greater risk, as many have done pointed out. These and other traditional content-access-based moderation solutions are rarely effective in combating online abuse, as shown recently. Research Written by Rihanna Feverkorn of Stanford University.

Product design changes, not back doors, are key to reconciling competing uses and abuse of encrypted messaging. While the content of individual messages can be harmful, the scope and effectiveness of allowing them to spread is a real challenge by turning groups of harmful messages into a wave of debilitating societal forces. Already, researchers and advocates have analyzed what the changes look like Shipping limitsImproving labeling and reducing group sizes can significantly reduce the prevalence and severity of problematic content, organized propaganda, and criminal behaviour. However, this work is carried out using alternative solutions such as number lines and generic groups. Without good data sets from the platforms, audits of any real-world effectiveness of these changes are hampered.

Platforms can do a lot. In order for such significant product changes to become more effective, they must share “metadata metadata” with researchers. This includes aggregated data sets showing the number of users of a platform, where accounts are created, when and how information is transmitted, what types of messages and formats are most popular, which messages are most commonly reported, and how (and when) users are moved to boot off. To be clear, this is not information commonly referred to as “metadata”, which typically refers to information about any specific individual and can be highly personal to users, such as a person’s name, email address, mobile phone number, close contacts, and even payment information. It is important to protect the privacy of this type of personal metadata, which is why OHCHR is right to It is considered User metadata must be covered by the right to privacy when applied to the Internet space.

Fortunately, we don’t need that level or type of data to start seriously addressing the damage. Instead, companies must first communicate with researchers and regulators about the nature and extent of the metadata they are making don’t collectwith whom they share this data, and how they analyze it to influence product design and revenue model choices. We know for sure that many private messaging platforms collect a huge amount of information that includes huge insights useful for how to design and try out new product features, or when to entice investment and advertisers.

The aggregated, anonymous data they collect, without compromising encryption and privacy, can be used by platforms and researchers alike to highlight important patterns. This aggregated metadata can lead to game-changing confidence and security improvements through better design options and features.



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