WhatsApp wants to assure its 1 billion monthly active users that their conversations are as private as they expect them to be.
This move comes following the recent altercations between Apple and the FBI over whether to allow governments to monitor conversations iPhones. Apple is no different from Facebook, which owns WhatsApp following a 2014 takeover that saw Mark Zuckerberg part with up to $21 billion. Both companies are in the tech space and whatever decision the government makes with respect to privacy will affect both of them. It is no wonder Facebook was behind Apple during the case and as it seems, the company has now moved in with tighter measures towards privacy.
WhatsApp end-to-end encryption to apply in private and group chats
In a blog post written by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, the tech mogul says that in the latest version of the chat app, all conversations will be protected by end-to-end encryption. This is not something new to the platform as the company had announced towards the end of 2014 that this protocol was onboard. However, the operations of the protocol took place behind the scenes, with messages only being encrypted.
According to Koum, this ability to encrypt messages using end-to-end technology will now move over to WhatsApp calls. In addition, users will be warned whether they are communicating to an individual whose version doesn’t support full end-to-end encryption or even a group whose members have not updated to the latest version. With this move, it means the recipient will be the only person who gets to see the message you send and no one else somewhere in the middle – including WhatsApp and any other third parties.
With end-to-end encryption, “communication through WhatsApp is private, more like a face-to-face talk,” Koum said.
When you tap on an individual contact or group to view more about the contact or group, you will be greeted with a message alerting you of the status of your conversation, that is, whether or not the recipient’s version of WhatsApp supports end-to-end encryption. In this way, you will be sure that it’s only you and your friend (s), not even WhatsApp, who can read the messages being exchanged.
Apparently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is not the only platform making security advancements. Recently, Google-owned Gmail updated its security protocols to include full-screen alerts whenever the service detects any suspected government-sponsored attack on users’ Gmail accounts. It is only going to get tougher for authorities who thought they had won the game following the successful unlocking of an iPhone without the help of Apple.
To take advantage of the new WhatsApp full end-to-end encryption, make sure you have updated to the latest version of the app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.