Skip to Main Content

How To Give Users More Freedom in Secure Group Messaging Apps

Daniel TkacikTuesday, November 23, 2021

A new study from researchers in Cylab wants group messaging apps like WhatsApp to give their users more control over their messages.

A Ph.D. candidate in Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Science Department wants group messaging apps like WhatsApp to give their users more control over their messages.

Matthew Weidner was the lead author on a study presented at last week's ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security arguing that the services group messaging apps use — such as end-to-end encryption or group management — should be decentralized. That is, users shouldn't be tethered to a single company's server, which leaves them at the mercy of the company.

"Right now, messaging app companies are in charge of users, when really it should be the other way around," Weidner said. "Users should have the freedom to choose how their messages are handled."

In the study, Weidner defined a new security protocol that could bring this decentralization idea to fruition.

"The idea of our work is to give users the same security, but support a more flexible network, thus giving more power to users," says Weidner. "If your message thread is routed through one server and the company raises the prices or shuts down, you could switch to another server seamlessly."

Read more about Weidner's work on decentralized continuous group key agreements on CyLab's website.  

For More Information

Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 | aaupperlee@cmu.edu