There has been a lot of debate on encryption, digital privacy and security for the past couple of months as the fight between Apple and the FBI got ugly. Apple stood its ground and didn’t create a backdoor for the FBI to access an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter but the bureau was able to crack it open anyway. That was big news but today something that impacts over a billion people has happened. WhatsApp has turned on encryption for its billion-plus users.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is one of the most widely used cross-platform messaging services. More than a billion people use it to send messages, make voice calls, send photos, files and more for free.
WhatsApp confirmed today that it has completed the roll out of end-to-end encryption to each and every form of communication offered. This means that all messages, phone calls and files sent via WhatsApp will now be encryption end-to-end. This works on iPhones, Androids, Windows Phones to even old flip phones from Nokia, basically any device that has a WhatsApp app.
Now that end-to-end encryption is in place, not even WhatsApp can access what’s being sent through its network, meaning that it has no way of complying with a court order for user data. It simply can’t access the data even if the government holds a court order to its head.
WhatsApp started working on encrypting its service in late 2014 and following reports that the Department of Justice had its service in the sights, the Facebook-owned company has announced today that all communication made through its service will now be completely encrypted end-to-end.