A handful of less-popular services, including Signal, Wickr and Telegram, use end-to-end encryption, while others don’t use encryption at all. Google, Facebook and Yahoo use less extensive encryption to protect emails and messages while they’re in transit, to prevent outsiders from eavesdropping. But those companies retain the ability to scan messages at certain points and can unlock them under a court order.
The world’s most popular messaging service, WhatsApp, just turned on the end to end encryption for all its chats like text, voice, image, video and all. The update has turned on all the operating systems – Android, iOS, Windows etc. That means engineers at the WhatsApp wouldn’t be able to read messages or watch video calls sent by its users even if ordered to do so by a court.
What is End to End encryption of WhatsApp?
The End-to-end encryption ensure that only you and that you’re communicating with can see the message and for it will be a puzzle. Even WhatsApp won’t see the chat.
WhatsApp has billions of users, making it most viral chat App. The end to end is not entirely new concept for them. It has pushed few such changes to hundred of millions of user in last November, 2014 on Android. But that rollout didn’t cover all types of messages, like group chats, videos, or photos. It also didn’t cover other operating systems, like Apple’s iOS or Windows Phone, although Android is the world’s most popular mobile OS.
So, this latest encryption is final peace of feature for which WhatsApp has been working for two years.
There are a handful of visible signs that encryption has kicked in. A text bubble now appears at the top of every new chat confirming that messages and calls are now end-to-end encrypted, if everyone participating in that conversation has the latest version of the app.
The move also helps to ensure that WhatsApp conversations are less likely to be used for advertising, a concern that many voiced when the messaging service was bought by Facebook in 2014. While WhatsApp will still be able to access some important data, such as the behaviour of its users, the actual content of conversations will now be much harder to read.
The Take Away
Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement. While it recognize the important work of law enforcement in keeping people safe, efforts to weaken encryption risk exposing people’s information to abuse from cybercriminals, hackers, and rogue states.
The Move looks good and feels promising for the user as their privacy has been kept first.