The Strategist

WhatsApp Encrypts Users Correspondence

04/06/2016 - 15:27

WhatsApp messenger’s management announced introduction of encryption for all kinds of information exchanged between its users, be it text or voice messages, photos, videos, files, group chats. This decision was taken after the FBI-Apple conflict flared in connection with the security services’ claim to get access to the locked iPhone of the terrorist. The incident caused a controversies and fears that, having the right to circumvent devices’ protection in the fight against terrorism, intelligence agencies and authorities would have at their disposal a tool for tracking the personal communications of ordinary citizens.
A message on the company’s corporate blog proclaims the introduction of end-to-end encryption for all kinds of information exchanged between WhatsApp users. Founders and managers of WhatsApp Jan Koum and Brian Acton said: "The idea is simple - when you send a message, the only person who can read it will be the one to whom you sent it. No one else will be able to get into this message. No cybercriminals. No hackers. No despotic regimes. And even we. The end-to-end encryption makes communication via WhatsApp private, as if you were talking in person. " 

The company noted that users of the application’s latest version do not need to make additional efforts to introduce encryption - this will be done automatically by default. WhatsApp notes that "for further protection, each message you send has a unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: you do not need to configure or set up special secret chats to protect your messages. "

WhatsApp was founded in 2010, and in 2014 bought by social network Facebook for $ 19 billion. The company made its statement against the background of debates on the protection of personal data, continuing in the United States and other countries. Last month, the FBI asked Apple for a tool to circumvent the protection of the locked iPhone owned by the terrorist. Apple said that such a method will give intelligence agencies an ability to circumvent the protection of all similar devices, which jeopardizes personal contacts of other citizens. Eventually, after hearings in Congress and court sessions, the FBI managed to unlock the iPhone without help of Apple.  

During the conflict with the secret service, Jan Koum, as well as many representatives of other high-tech companies, publicly supported Apple. He stated that he has "always admired Tim Cook's position on the protection of personal information and means to protect users’ data. We cannot let to create that dangerous precedent." In his yesterday's statement, Jan Koum, who, as we know, is a native of the Soviet Union, said: "The desire to protect the personal correspondence of people is one of the basic principles of our company and me personally. I grew up in the years of USSR communism, and the fact that people could not communicate freely there was one of the reasons why my family moved to the United States. "