Chat App Kakao Speak Begins Providing Choose-In Encryption Following Current Privateness Storm

Chat App Kakao Talk Begins Offering Opt-In Encryption Following Recent Privacy Storm

Daum Kakao, the newly merged Korean entity behind Kakao Speak, has launched a brand new finish-to-finish encryption function on the chat app following controversy round consumer knowledge in current months.

The corporate is rolling out a brand new ‘Secret Chat’ mode at this time, which is touchdown on Android units first (Android dominates in Korea) with iOS set to comply with “quickly”, the corporate stated. The brand new function is activated in two methods: by way of a drop down menu inside present chats or a devoted button that launches a brand new Secret Chat.

The function is initially stay for one-on-one conversations solely, however Daum Kakao says it is going to develop into an choice for group chats inside the first three months of subsequent yr. The corporate additionally made a small privateness tweak to let customers to go away group chats for good, stopping them from being re-added.

Chat App Kakao Talk Begins Offering Opt-In Encryption Following Recent Privacy Storm

Kakao Speak has over one hundred fifty million registered customers, however it’s strongest in Korea the place it’s stated to be put in on greater than ninety five % of smartphones. That dominance was examined in October when media reported that President Park Geun-hye was getting ready to crack down on the chat app and pay money for consumer knowledge from its dad or mum firm.

That despatched vital numbers of Kakao Speak customers fleeing to ‘safer’ apps. Safety targeted Telegram appeared to revenue probably the most, drawing in a reported 1.5 million new registrations in Korea inside days of the saga erupting.

Finally, Daum Kakao denied that it handed over info and it pledged to introduce steps to make customers extra conscious of their knowledge. That included the introduction of a Google-like transparency report back to relay all info requests in Korea, and this encryption function rolling out now.

The corporate stated in a press release at this time that the encryption keys are saved regionally on customers’ units which makes the Secret Chat knowledge inaccessible, even to Daum Kakao:

Secret Chat ensures heightened confidentiality of consumer conversations by offering finish-to-finish encryption, the place the decryption key for chat messages is saved within the consumer’s system making the messages solely readable by the customers concerned within the dialog. Because the decryption key’s saved solely within the gadget, different events can’t entry conversations via any outdoors level—even by way of servers.

The privateness storm has settled down, however nonetheless it’s value noting that Kakao Speak shouldn’t be the one chat app supplier to get extra critical about safeguarding consumer knowledge recently.

WhatsApp, the world’s most used messaging app, launched an unprecedented obligatory encryption function in partnership with WhisperSystems just lately. Whereas Line, a rival in Japan, added an choose-in function for its widespread messaging service again in July.

The Edward Snowden NSA leaks and privateness-targeted apps like Telegram have helped increase consciousness of the significance of encryption worldwide however it stays to be seen what number of customers will choose-in to make use of such options. WhatsApp’s transfer to make encryption normal throughout all chats is a step in a greater course however, as WhisperSystems itself admitted, introducing a function with the related calls for and on the scale of tons of of tens of millions of lively customers is not any straightforward factor.