It becomes more and more fun on WhatsApp. The European Union requires large chat services to open its network to smaller competitors. WhatsApp community (2 billion people, 12.5 million In the Netherlands) you can soon be reached via smaller chat services like Signal.
The Law on Digital Markets, concluded last week in Brussels, states that the main messaging services “interoperable” It must. This is a small sentence that has dire consequences.
According to this law, “Apping” will work like email and SMS: it doesn’t matter which provider or email service you use – everyone can reach everyone. So you don’t necessarily have to install software from Meta (the parent company of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook) to be able to apply with your soccer team, choir or family.
Not a bad idea, because WhatsApp has a knack for moving privacy terms a bit towards Facebook. You have but to swallowUnless you can also choose another app to connect with WhatsApp friends.
One chat app for all, that would make life more clear. I am now using Signal for close people, WhatsApp for groups, and iMessage for family. Telegram, Teams, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger are available to change contacts.
They are all closed networks, and each has its own mailbox. The European Union wants to open up these “silos” and is interfering with the strategy of technology companies. They want to keep users to themselves. This applies to WhatsApp, but also to Apple. The iMessage chat service (1.3 billion users) only works on Apple’s own devices.
Whatsapp without WhatsApp, iMessage without iMessage. but how? These networks use special methods to encrypt messages. Only the (temporary) encryption keys are in the users’ possession to prevent outsiders from reading. Security experts anticipate the emergence of the application: connect two encrypted networks together without breaking the encryption, It’s not possible†
European law is not yet detailed, but logically chat services should do so Common Standard must use. In the stone age of chatting – when MSN, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ were still dominating – there was ubiquitous technology, JaberNetworks are closer to each other. And you can display “weird” apps from other services in a different color. For example, Apple displays text messages in iMessage in green, instead of blue.
Networks should not work together at the expense of your privacy – this requires restrictions on the exchange of identities and phone numbers. The WhatsApp Worried About spreading fake news, hate speech and spam once you allow other services. On the other hand: Meta wants to connect WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger itself. It seems not impossible.
Step by step, if it’s up to the EU, the boundaries between chat services are blurring: first for text messages, then photos and videos and then group chats. Smaller chat services do not have to open their networks.
The EU is not concerned with the technical limitations of existing infrastructure and revenue models. It is about the principle: interoperabilitySo freedom of choice. This principled approach is reminiscent of the EU’s approach to roaming charges in the telecom sector. mobile conveyors cast Until 2017 Huge financial barriers if data is used abroad. They had, the excuse was. Even a law was passed prohibiting service providers from asking for additional money. And one day the borders disappeared.
Mark Heigenk He writes about technology here. Twitter: @MarcHijinkNRC
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of March 30, 2022
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