wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

WhatsApp end to end encryption now default for all users

whatsapp-cmn

WhatsApp, which had rolled out end-to-end encryption on Android app back in 2014, has now started encrypting all communication on the platform by default, including calls, video calls, group messages, group calls etc.

This is a big move, as communication between two users will be impossible to read by others including WhatsApp. This means requests for data by governments will be technically impossible to comply with. Note that chatting with users that have not yet updated the app will result in the messages not being encrypted. The group or chat info displays the names of users that are yet to update.

The company has partnered with open source mobile security services provider Open Whisper Systems in 2014, to make use of the latter’s TextSecure protocol for this initiative. Open Whisper is known for developing mobile apps like TextSecure, RedPhone and Signal that allows users to make encrypted calls and send encrypted text messages.

WhatsApp has also launched a feature letting users verify that the messages are end to end encrypted. For this users can either scan a QR code or compare a bunch of numbers to verify. Note that messaging apps like Silent Text and Telegram already offer similar encrypted messaging services. We reported last month that tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Snapchat and Google were also looking to further encryption on their services.

MediaNama’s take: What makes WhatsApp’s move such a big deal is the scale of the company. In February, the company crossed 1 billion monthly active users, with over 42 billion messages, 1.6 billion photos and 250 million videos shared everyday. At the time, the company also claimed to have 1 billion groups on the platform.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Governments around the world will now have no way of even forcing WhatsApp to let them peek at messages between these billion users. In contrast, Apple, which was fighting a battle to uphold encryption against the FBI, had sold over 200 million iPhones in 2015 worldwide. It’s worth noting that earlier this month, the US Justice Department was looking into ways to wiretap WhatsApp conversations in an unnamed (non terrorism related) criminal investigation.

The US senate has also been working on a draft legislation to penalise tech companies for refusing to comply with court orders by refusing to provide information in investigations. Encrypting end to end conversations will make it simply impossible for companies to provide information even if they wanted to. Essentially, like in the Apple vs FBI case, governments will have to work to undermine encryption legally, or simply find a workaround like the FBI did.

Written By

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

While the market reality of popular crypto-assets like Bitcoin may undergo little change, the same can't be said for stablecoins.

News

Bringing transactions related to crypto-assets within the tax net could make matters less fuzzy.

News

Loopholes in FEMA and the decentralised nature of crypto-assets point to a need for effective regulations.

News

The need of the hour is for lawmakers to understand the systems that are amplifying harmful content.

News

For drone delivery to become a reality, a permissive regulatory regime is a prerequisite.

You May Also Like

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ