A document [PDF] from the Texas Attorney General as part of its antitrust investigation reveals that shortly after Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2015, it gave Google exclusive access to millions of WhatsApp messages, photos, videos, and audio files that were supposedly end-to-end encrypted at the time. If they were truly end-to-end encrypted, this sort of access would not be possible.
Google Facebook Relationship
As NPR reports, attorneys general from 10 states have sued Google on Wednesday, accusing the advertising giant of using its dominant role in the advertising market to squash competitors. The heavily redacted document from the Texas AG reveals the following concerning this agreement:
For instance, shortly after Facebook acquired WhatsApp, in 2015, Facebook signed an exclusive agreement with Google, granting Google access to millions of Americans’ end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp messages, photos, videos, and audio files. As Google discussed internally, WhatsApp [redacted]
They did not know that Google [redacted] As internal documents reveal, upon signing the agreement, Facebook and Google started [redacted], without letting users know. Rather than being concerned about this fundamental breach of privacy, Google internally was [redacted] In other words, Google is more concerned about bad publicity than about users’ privacy.
In a video posted on Twitter, Texas AG General Ken Paxton said “If the free market were a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter and the umpire.”
In a statement, Google said the lawsuit’s claims are “meritless” and said it would defend itself in court.