The month of March is the deadline for WhatsApp to comply with the Digital Markets Law, which requires the app to open to new applications. Now, we begin to see the first steps until the integration becomes 100% final. Everything seems to indicate that we will have a separate inbox to manage these conversations.
The Digital Markets Law, Known as DMA, it has meant a real revolution for large technology companies operating in the European Union market. This legal framework mainly affects companies that have been dubbed “Access Gatekeepers” (Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft), which must adopt different measuresamong which the interoperability of its services and applications stands out.
Yesterday, Wired had the opportunity to learn about the impressions of Dick Brouwer, engineering director of WhatsApp, who announced some aspects in which the company is working to meet a double challenge: on the one hand, respect everything the DMA says. For another, guarantee the security to its users that their messages will maintain the encryption, and the rest of the security measures, that they currently have.
Interoperability and security
“There is a real tension between providing an easy way to offer this interoperability to third parties while preserving WhatsApp’s level of privacy, security and integrity.“, he stated Brouwer, which has worked with Meta to implement the same encryption from WhatsApp to Messenger, stating that “We’re pretty happy with where we’ve landed.”.
But how will the messages reach our inbox? This is one of the doubts that have shaken the technology industry since the scope of interoperability has been known. Brouwer has cleared up all the questions in this regard, “The initial idea here is to put a separate inbox, since these networks are very different”.
Therefore, here we would find the main change Regarding the application, as it is currently conceived: from now on, messages originating from any other app must be consulted through an inbox specifically dedicated to it.
No security guarantees
One of the aspects that the manager has placed the most emphasis on is what has to do with the freedom that the user has to be able to use, or not, this function. “One of the basic requirements here, and this is really important, is that users accept it », it states. “I can choose whether or not I want to participate, being open to exchanging messages with third parties. This is important because it could be a big source of spam and scams”.
It should be taken into account that the WhatsApp interoperability will land, At first, to text messaging, sending images, voice messages, videos and files between two users. However, in the case of chats and group calls, we will still have to wait several years until the corresponding movements are carried out.
The ultimate goal pursued by the principle of interoperability is that users can communicate with each other without the need for both of them to have downloaded the same applications. For example, a Telegram user You can send a message to your WhatsApp contact. And the latter does the same with a user who uses Apple’s iMessage.
During the coming weeks, all apps that want to interoperate with WhatsApp will have to sign the corresponding agreements to define the terms. The details of each plan will be presented in March and, from there, the EU allows work for several months until it can be implemented correctly.