WhatsApp, one of the more popular online messaging services currently owned by Facebook, has announced that they had now added end-to-end encryption to every type of device on its platform.
Also Read: Obama Asks For Middle Ground With Encryption
WhatsApp Communications are now Encrypted
WhatsApp’s move follows a month-long battle between Apple and the FBI over a federal order to unlock the iPhone of a mass shooter in San Bernardino, CA, after Apple CEO, Tim Cook, refused to comply with the FBI, citing issues of privacy and security in the digital age. The FBI dropped the lawsuit when they reportedly cracked the phone with help from Israeli security firm Cellebrite.
Meanwhile, founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, together with coder and cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike (Pseudonym), made a proactive decision to encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos from iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones and even antiquated flip phones. Not even WhatsApp’s employees can read data sent across its network. In other words, WhatsApp has no way of complying with a court order requesting access to content located on its servers.
As centralized as Apple and Facebook are, in the past both have engaged in activity that could be considered encroachment into the private lives of customers. Undisclosed collection of personal data for marketing purposes, behavioral experiments, etc. have diminished their reputation over the last few years. But now it seems these same companies want to repair their image and are fighting for the privacy rights of the same customers that they abused not so long ago.
What lies behind the decision to go up against the government on this issue is anyone’s guess but it is good news for the billions of customers that now know that personal information will be protected even upon government intrusion.
With this groundbreaking move, WhatsApp is the first major company to bring encryption to over a billion users. With today’s concerns of privacy regarding evolving technology, the company’s customers should welcome the end-to-end encryption features as good news. What’s more is that it only took a team of only 15 engineers to bring encryption to just over a billion users. In today’s world of disruption and revolutionary technology, it is imperative that personal data does not fall into the wrong hands.
Whether or not you trust your government, it is always good to know that there are people involved in organizations like WhatsApp, Telegram, Bitcoin etc., looking out for the interests of the users.
Should all communications platforms should be encrypted? Let us know in the comments sections below!
Images courtesy of BitRebel Media Services