You Won't Believe How ISIS Uses WhatsApp
‘Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old. Price is up to $12,500. She will be sold soon.’ This is chilling text of a message shared via WhatsApp as ISIS terrorists auction off children for slavery like barbarians.
ISIS uses encrypted apps to sell weapons, gear, and people
They have created a database of slaves to make it harder to escape
Encryption prevents Law Enforcement from reading these messages
Above is the text of a message shared by ISIS on WhatsApp and Telegram, apps that ISIS uses to sell weapons, gear and now people. A woman with a small child and a baby was sold for $3,700. These messages were shared with AP by members of the Yazidi community, who are frequent targets of ISIS extremists, sold as slaves to the members of IS.
It is estimated that over 3,000 people are held in captivity by ISIS and sold via apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. The problem is so big in ISIS that there is an official registration of all slaves, registered under the names of their ‘owners’ and with pictures, so those trying to escape will be identified at checkpoints and returned to their owners. It has become increasingly difficult to smuggle people out of the Islamic State since the introduction of this slave database.
ISIS is one of the greatest evils of the world, a society that allows and condones slavery, as their interpretation of the Quran allows for these sort of actions. They even have a list of rules for their sex slaves!
WhatsApp spokesperson Matt Steinfeld said “We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and disable accounts when provided with evidence of activity that violates our terms. We encourage people to use our reporting tools if they encounter this type of behavior”. A spokesperson for Telegram said that the app is popular in the Middle East, and it is unfortunate that it is used by the “more marginal elements”.
The app Telegram was founded by Pavel Durov, a Russian-born entrepreneur who founded the popular social media platofrm VKontakte (VK), one of the leading social networks in Russia. He lost control of the company after problems with the Russian authorities, and is now in exile. He created the app to protect the privacy of the users, and he has no intention of allowing any back doors in the software.
Encryption: Is it a Problem?
Encryption is an incredible thing that we take for granted. It is only when we see what happens when photos and videos of our leaders leak to the public that we can appreciate that we have encryption for our own content. But making something inaccessible to others not only strengthens our privacy, but strengthens the privacy of the evil people of this world.
This is increasingly the case with WhatsApp and Telegram: both services have enables end-to-end encryption by default, which means that no one, not even the company itself can get access to your chats. This means that all the three-letter government agencies do not have the ability to spy on you, which is nice for us, but very frustrating because it also protects the chats or terrorists. That is the argument that is at the forefront of the modern age: should encryption be allowed? If we remove encryption, security in the workplace will collapse, and we will always fear that the government will be spying on us. But allowing unfettered encryption will allow terrorists to be protected and will harm our ability to take down terrorists. Numerous bills have been proposed to allow back-doors in the encryption of these services but they have been met by resistance for those who stand up for civil rights, saying the government shouldn’t be prying into our private lives.
This debate is not over, it is just beginning. But for every day it takes, more children will be sold as slaves in Syria and Iraq.