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WhatsApp fully encrypts all its messages now

April 07, 2016 05:20 AM
WhatsApp description

WhatsApp announced on Tuesday that all messages sent through the most recent version of its app will be fully encrypted, Tech Insider reported.

 This means that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them. This means that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them. This means that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them. 

 More than a billion people trade messages, make phone calls, send photos, and swap videos using the service. This means that only Facebook itself runs a larger self-contained communications network. And today, the enigmatic founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, together with a high-minded coder and cryptographer who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike, revealed that the company has added end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on its service.

This means that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them. And that’s true on any phone that runs the app, from iPhones to Android phones to Windows phones to old school Nokia flip phones. With end-to-end encryption in place, not even WhatsApp’s employees can read the data that’s sent across its network. In other words, WhatsApp has no way of complying with a court order demanding access to the content of any message, phone call, photo, or video traveling through its service. 

The Justice Department has considered pursing legal action against WhatsApp's encryption efforts in recent months, according to The New York Times. Now that WhatsApp is encrypted, the company won't be technically able to hand over records of its messages to governments.

The messaging app began adding encryption to its service back in 2013 but didn't fully commit to implementing it with Open Whisper until 2014, reports Wired. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum was the first prominent tech leader to publicly back Apple's refusal to help the FBI create a back door into the i

en-source encryption standard from Open Whisper Systems. The same encryption has been used by whistle blowers like Edward Snowden.

Now WhatsApp has firmly and resolutely planted its stake in the ground for encryption. “The desire to protect people's private communication is one of the core beliefs we have at WhatsApp, and for me, it's personal,” said Koum on the company's blog. “I grew up in the USSR during communist rule and the fact that people couldn't speak freely is one of the reasons my family moved to the United States.”

Koum also said that weak encryption can lead to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states. He sees WhatsApp as a leader in the encryption movement. “While WhatsApp is among the few communication platforms to build full end-to-end encryption that is on by default for everything you do, we expect that it will ultimately represent the future of personal communication,” he said.

 

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