Google apparently has access to the content of WhatsApp users

Following the filing of a lawsuit by the US state of Texas, Google and Facebook are said to have reached an agreement on access to WhatsApp users’ content. In the process, other states have joined the accusations against the corporation.

Google abuses its position

In their statement of claim, the various states accuse Google of abusing its monopoly position. The corporation is said to have “repeatedly and brazenly violated competition law and consumer protection laws.” The Texas attorney general also takes the same view. In his Twitter feed, he writes: “This Internet goliath is using its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition, and harm YOU, the consumer.” To do this, Google would also harm the pages of media outlets that users visit. The lawsuit is a full 130 pages. The lawsuit is supported by the states of Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, Idaho and Arkansas. Already a year ago, there was a merger of the prosecutors of some U.S. states. The aim was to conduct antitrust investigations against the Group, and the first lawsuit was filed in October of this year. Numerous internal company documents were evaluated for this purpose. These were unfortunately partially blacked out in the public writing.

In cooperation with Facebook

A lawsuit has also been filed against Facebook. Both companies have apparently cooperated here to maintain Google’s monopoly position. In this regard, there is a passage in the lawsuit that alludes to the collaboration. It says that after Facebook took over WhatsApp, an agreement was made with Google. This agreement is supposed to give the group access to Americans’ end-to-end encrypted messages, videos, audio files and pictures. The next passage was then unfortunately blacked out, here it was about internal mails from Google. Whether all these accusations stand up is not out. One thing is clear, however, access to end-to-end encrypted messages is not possible. It should be noted, however, that WhatsApp only started with comprehensive end-to-end encryption in April 2016. So if the agreement was concluded in 2015, as alleged, it could still have been implemented. According to speculations on Twitter, WhatsApp users’ messages could have been accessed via the backup function via Google Drive. Especially because since 2018, changes have been made here in the storage requirements for the backups.

Header Biddings

Another big point in the lawsuit concerns header biddings. As the automated marketing of advertising space on the Internet. Publishers can thus offer their advertising space simultaneously on several places. At first, Google saw this as an attack on its business model, but then adopted it in the end. Now there are accusations that the company is manipulating the ads. Ads would run through Google’s marketplace even if a competitor had made a better offer. The US company rejects these accusations on the grounds that they are unfounded. So it will be exciting to see what comes out of the lawsuit in the end. There are some accusations, and not only against Google.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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