For a long time now, I’ve had this sentiment that anything shared online (especially on social networks) will eventually become public. And I don’t just mean profile pictures and public posts, but all messages, photos exchanged, and anything else shared “privately”.
Most social media platforms and messaging platforms store messages and all user content unencrypted. Sure, they “technically” encrypt it on disk, but then the key is already in memory. The data is READABLE by the web servers that expose the data to users; it’s not locked down unreadable in some air-gapped safe. So a few engineers already have access to them, even though they’re technically not allowed to snoop in.
We’ve seen lots of data being leaked from very large, secretive corporations lately. It’s easy to think that it’s just a matter of time before data from Facebook, Twitter or Telegram gets leaked? It just takes one person who things it’s a good idea (I don’t think it is, but I do think such people exist).
The world will be a different, crazy place. It’d be awkward if a single person’s messages are suddenly public, but it’s an entirely different effect is this happens to everyone’s messages – the playing field is suddely weirdly level.
Unencrypted data is the obvious target of course, but that doesn’t mean that encrypted data is immune. It’s just a far harder target. Data encrypted a couple of decades ago can be brute-forced easily today, and breaking that encryption get easier each passing days. There will come a day when breaking encryption is so easy that even large dumps of encrypted messages from today can all be decrypted. I honestly can’t say if we’ll personally live to see this day or if it’ll be our grandchildren.