WhatsApp is finally showing the more than 1 billion people that actively use the app that it really cares more about their privacy than they actually thought.
The war on encryption has been tough in the recent days. Apple and the FBI have been locked in a battle that saw the latter “win” by actually finding their own way of decrypting an iPhone without the needed help from the former. WhatsApp is taking no chances with its privacy and in recent times, users have been reporting changes in the app where they are notified of the security status of the person they are communicating with.
In short, the Facebook-owned application has now fully integrated end-to-end encryption into its messaging services. With this, it means only the sender and recipient of a message can actually see the content of the message. In this way, no third party, including the team at WhatsApp, can access the message while on transit. This type of tight encryption, according to the company, is also headed to its voice calling as well as file sharing services.
What it means for security enforcers
Security enforcers have been adamant that communication service providers make use of weaker encryption protocols in order to let them get in whenever they want; however, this hasn’t been an easy sail for them. Of course, the law has its own take on the usage of electronic media and this differs across the globe. You’ll find governments taking control over which encryption methods e-commerce sites and other platforms use so as to be in a position to monitor any suspected activities in a lawful manner. However, what this meant was that online platforms had to use weaker encryption protocols in order to support the intentions of the state. The result of this has been endless cybercrimes, hacking and phishing attacks.
WhatsApp is still a “new” service and in many government’s communication laws, it has yet to find a place. It is neither a telecom or internet service provider and as such, it is rarely affected by the telecommunications regulations in many markets. However, with WhatsApp seeing through more than 30 billion messages in addition to the fact that the app and others such as Skype, Telegram and so on have been seen as mediums through which terrorists and criminals plan their attacks, it is becoming a concern for many security enforcers.
Governments want to be allowed to intercept, monitor and decrypt not just WhatsApp messages, but also other online platforms that people communicate through. However, now that Facebook has integrated this end-to-end encryption technology into the most popular chat app, it means complying with this regulation in certain markets would be impossible. The result of this would be completely killing the app in the affected markets.