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New law of the EU! WhatsApp messages can soon be sent from all messengers

WhatsApp is the most-used messenger worldwide. Those who want to switch often face problems. After all, if all your friends and acquaintances are on WhatsApp, you have to be there too in order to send messages. But this is exactly where a new EU law comes in.

The EU Parliament passed the so-called “Digital Markets Act” this week. ZDF also calls the new regulation the “WhatsApp Act.” For good reason, because it forces Messenger to open up to other programs. In short, WhatsApp messages are to be able to be sent with other messengers such as Telegram, Signal or Facebook Messenger in the future. Anyone who wants to exchange messages with other WhatsApp users no longer has to have an account with the service. The principle is called “interoperability”.

What does the opening of WhatsApp and other messengers mean for security?

As early as 2021, the Federal Network Agency was considering messenger use across provider boundaries. For a long time, however, it was not clear how the whole thing would be implemented. One problem, for example, is the end-to-end encryption that WhatsApp and other messengers use to secure their chats. Experts warn of security problems due to the interoperability enforced by the EU. Some even see the opening of the messengers while maintaining encryption as impossible. Exactly how the new EU regulation is to be implemented in detail has yet to be clarified. However, the EU emphasizes that all privacy standards and encryption that have been in place up to now must be maintained.

It is certain that such a major adjustment will take time. WhatsApp will probably only be able to open up to other messengers gradually. The same applies vice versa, of course. The portal Netzpolitik writes that it will probably initially be possible for two users to chat across messenger borders. The changeover for group chats or even voice messages and video calls, on the other hand, will take place much later. According to ZDF, a transition period of two years applies to WhatsApp and Facebook, and even four years for WhatsApp group chats.

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Small providers excluded

Even though WhatsApp is often mentioned in connection with the interoperability required by the EU, the change applies to all major messengers. The new party leader of the Left Party, Martin Schirdewan, calls the new EU regulation a way to “clean up the Internet and fight digital monopolies.” MEP Patrick Breyer also describes the plan in similar terms. For the first time, users would have a real choice as to which messenger they want to use.¬†Other messengers would have the chance to compete with top dog WhatsApp.

But not all messengers are obliged to open up to WhatsApp or other providers. Smaller services, such as the Swiss company Threema, have already declared that messaging is not interesting for them “for various reasons. Threema CEO Martin Blatter is primarily concerned with the anonymity and security of his users. He does not want to see the data with the Meta Group, which also includes WhatsApp and Facebook. At the same time, he sees the concept of Threema endangered by the required interoperability. The service is fee-based, but is strongly positioned in many social groups, he says. But if users can now also be active in these groups via WhatsApp without having to pay for Threema, then “people will stay with WhatsApp,” Blatter told Netzpolitik.

Sources

  • ZDF
  • Netzpolitik.org

Topics

  • Messenger
  • WhatsApp