Snapchat ranks among the riskiest apps to use in terms of the protection of user privacy, while Facebook’s are the most secure, a report has found. The popular messaging app is failing to defend its users’ private information by not using end-to-end encryption, research from Amnesty International has found. End-to-end encryption is considered among the most secure methods of data protection, and is used by WhatsApp and is an option within Facebook Messenger. Amnesty assessed how technology companies apply end-to-end encryption as default, recognise online threats, publish technical details of their encryption services, make users aware of threats to their rights, and disclose details and responses to government demands for user data. Each firm was awarded a score out of 100.
Messenger and WhatsApp were deemed the most secure, scoring 73 out of 100, compared to Snapchat’s 26/100. Snapchat has been contacted for comment. Microsoft-owned Skype also ranked poorly, scoring just 40/100, while Apple’s iMessage and Facetime apps were awarded 67/100.
If you think instant messaging services are private, you are in for a big surprise. The reality is that our communications are under constant threat from cybercriminals and spying by state authorities,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of Amnesty’s technology and human rights team. “Young people, the most prolific sharers of personal details and photos over apps like Snapchat, are especially at risk.
“It is up to tech firms to respond to well-known threats to their users’ privacy and freedom of expression, yet many companies are falling at the first hurdle by failing to provide an adequate level of encryption.”