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Communications Privacy Security

Turkey Rolls Out Domestic Rival To WhatsApp, Raising Surveillance Concerns (reuters.com) 36

Turkey has launched a domestic messaging app to rival Facebook's popular WhatsApp Messenger service, raising concerns among government critics that Ankara (capital of Turkey) could use the new platform to tighten surveillance and bolster an 18-month-old crackdown. From a report: The app, called PttMessenger after Turkey's Post and Telegraph General Directorate (PTT), was introduced in a limited roll-out to state institutions and some private companies this week. It is expected to be publicly available in six months. PttMessenger will provide a "system safer than WhatsApp," government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told a news conference. "Since no data is stored with the host, it will be impossible to access these data. A system safer than WhatsApp has been developed." Critics cast doubt on the suggestion PttMessenger data could not be retrieved, fearing it will give authorities greater ability to monitor dissent, pointing to the widespread crackdown that was launched after a failed military coup in July 2016.
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Turkey Rolls Out Domestic Rival To WhatsApp, Raising Surveillance Concerns

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2018 @10:54AM (#56094961)

    Governments have never lied to their populace about surveillance...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Given the NSA spying was just extended again, the US has no business pointing fingers at anyone nor does anyone in Washington have the right to consider themselves American. If they can spend more time finding ways to block Trump, your current sitting President but have no problem spying on everyone.

  • by robkill ( 259732 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:10AM (#56095045)

    Almost 20 years ago, my company gave a brief presentation to visitors from the Turkish National Police. They wanted network traffic monitoring tools to expose people visiting "illegal websites". I'm sure the mindset hasn't changed since then.

  • by amalcolm ( 1838434 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:14AM (#56095061)
    I'm hungry !!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We should instead be concerned about how none of these messaging networks can talk to each other. IM should work like email, but it doesn't, and nobody has a good reason why.

  • This should be fun. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @11:24AM (#56095123)

    I'm looking forward to reading what someone finds after reverse engineering the app... and then what happens to that person.

  • More than "no reasonable".

  • It is a Signal fork (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stikves ( 127823 ) on Friday February 09, 2018 @02:10PM (#56096101) Homepage

    They even admit it on Twitter. It was a fork of the open source Signal software, meaning there is a big potential violation of GPLv3 terms by the government:

    https://twitter.com/PTTKurumsa... [twitter.com]

    "PttMessenger, signal tabanl açk kaynak kod kullanlarak gelitirilmitir. PttMessenger, tüm gelitirme haklar ile PTT A..'ye aittir.

    Zebrachat, PttMessenger'n gelitirme aamasnda kullanlan proje ve ürün addr."

    roughly:

    "PttMessenger is developed based on the open signal sources. All rights of PttMessenger belong to the PTT A.S.

    Zebrachat is a code name for a development snapshot of PttMessenger."

    I could not find the source code to neither PttMessenger nor Zebrachat. If they are indeed based on Signal (which has very good security btw.), this might become one of the highest profile open source copyright infringements.

  • Source: Every single female friend I have who visited Turkey.

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