Facebook loves ads, Introducing ads to WhatsApp has been on the books since the company acquired the platfom. However, their workarounds on how to show targeted ads without violating user privacy have been a hurdle.

If you really value your privacy, WhatsApp is not the app you should be using as your main messaging app, while the popular messaging app is renowned for its privacy feature due to its end-to-end encryption this doesn’t mean Facebook won’t one day potentially be able to use your data for advertising.

While one of the big assumptions about encryption is that only people you give permission to can read your messages and no one else including the messaging platforms themselves is privy to what you’re discussing with your contacts, a new push to develop homomorphic encryption techniques looks to change this.

Facebook has confirmed to The Information that it’s working on homomorphic encryption. Effectively, this is a system whereby processing in the cloud can be carried out on encrypted data, without having to first decrypt it. That allows services to preserve security while still making better use of user data.

The tech giant is said to be building a team of AI researchers to explore possibilities to analyze data without breaking encryption.

Traditionally, for Facebook to use the contents of a WhatsApp chat for targeted marketing, it would need to decrypt it first, now, with homomorphic encryption, a different type of encryption allows for computation to be performed on that encrypted data, without access to the decryption key. The end results of that will then also be encrypted, and are only visible to someone with that key. The advantage is that the cloud service can carry out the processing but without actually seeing the data itself, thus preserving security.

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WhatsApp will now be in the limelight once again, just a few months after it received backlash for trying to force a new privacy policy on users.

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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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