- Companies like Facebook, Google and Snapchat are working on projects that would increase privacy technology in their respective products, The Guardian reported Monday.
- The three companies said they launched their projects before Apple entered a court battle with the Department of Justice over whether it should help authorities hack into a suspected terrorist’s iPhone.
- However, new encryption efforts could land tech firms in trouble with the United States government. U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and Richard Burr, R-N.C., have reportedly written draft legislation that would penalize companies that aren’t able to provide readable user data to authorities.
Facebook’s WhatsApp reportedly plans to encrypt voice calls, Snapchat is working on a secure messaging system and Google is bringing an encrypted email project back to life, according to The Guardian.
Several of the large tech companies have explored encrypted messaging products before, only to scrap their project because encryption can make products more difficult to use. But given Apple’s high-profile battle with the Department of Justice, encryption is suddenly becoming a selling point for both consumers and businesses alike.
While the majority of the encryption discussion thus far has involved mobile apps and products, Google’s project focuses on encryption in email. The project, called End to End, would make it easier to send encrypted emails. Until recently, Google had made little progress with the project since it was launched in 2014. But the Apple debate has generated renewed interest in the project, and Google is now reportedly making it more of a priority.
Earlier this month, Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter all signed on to legal briefs supporting Apple in its court case.