WhatsApp — the world’s most popular messaging site — just made it impossible for anyone to access your personal data.
The Facebook-owned texting app enabled end-to-end encryption for all operating systems on Tuesday, which means that no one will be able to read your messages except the intended recipient — even if ordered in court.
“The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post. “No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.”
The encryption is available once all users have installed the latest version of the app; the process is automatic so there is no need to switch on any secret button in settings.
The rationale behind the newest update originates from tech companies’ exhaustive battle against law enforcement and other entities to squelch privacy and security for their users. The new development alludes to United States Federal Bureau of Investigation recently compelling Apple to unlock a terrorist’s phone. Apple refused in an attempt to demonstrate their commitment to customers’ privacy. The tech giant’s response further intensified the debate between privacy and safety, walking a thin line between government surveillance and detecting valuable information.
“We live in a world where more of our data is digitized than ever before. Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen,” WhatsApp wrote. “And if nothing is done, more of people's digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come. Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities.”
WhatsApp has taken a bold move in order to secure trust with its users and, like Apple, vow it is for the user — not Big Brother-esque government.
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