Reverse-engineering Whatsapp, to let us talk to our friends without Facebook's oversight


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/10/embrace-and-extend.html


#2

Liquid Gopherspace was the web only with less breathless boosterism.

Which kind of proves your point!

But CDs aren’t dead yet, and they have more life left in them than the lousy, lossy MP3 format fer sure.

I’ll check into it, and see if I can figure out what this Whatsapp thing is or does.


#3

Whatsapp is awesome, I often have random convos with former AirBnB guests all over the planet. It’s nice to stay in touch without the Zuck looking over our shoulders.


#4

New band name AND a William Gibson-ism all in one. Score!


#5

It’s a text messaging app. Why use it over normal standard text messages? Basically if your friends use it you get roped into using it or you don’t get to see their messages. To be fair, it does make creating groups easier than standard SMS clients, and you don’t get charged for messages (other than for data when not on WiFi)


#7

He might not be looking over your shoulder, but I strongly suspect he’s watching who you’re chatting to, when, and for how long.


#8

It uses the encryption methods and protocols of Signal - which is itself open source, deliberately privacy-respecting, and a perfectly good product.

Facebook gets the “envelope data” but not the message content. They could of course immediately discard the envelope data, as WhisperSystems (developers of Signal) do - but they’re facebook so of course they don’t.


#9

Thank you!


#10

Because telco’s around the world got greedy with SMS and charge a lot more money for it then it’s worth, from what I understand they did not immediately see that this was a possibility when they launched it in the US so , they thought no one would want to send text messages when they could call. So the prices there are usually low or flat rate.

For whatsapp you pay nothing if you are on wifi. Besides this it is really hard to send multiple good resolution photo’s to a group of people with SMS.


#11

The reason my friends started using Whatsapp was that several of them are from different European countries, and sending texts between countries can be expensive (depends on the networks, the countries and your contract), so several of them started using it to chat to friends back home, and soon enough the ol’ network effect steps in and we’re all using it.
Now even my mum uses it, so I can expect pictures of the cat or dog or niece at random times.


#12

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