What Exactly Is This WhatsApp Encryption Thing?
The Debrief: In the words of Justin Bieber, WhatsApp encryption, what do you mean?
Did you receive this little yellow message while chatting away on WhatsApp yesterday: ‘Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption,’ and wonder what the hell was going on ?
What is Whatsapp end-to-end encryption?
Well, it essentially means that WhatsApp (owned by top dogs, Facebook) have now introduced technology that means the messages you send on the app cannot be intercepted and read by people not at the end of your text. Making your chats, voice calls or pictures, private. Now, we’ve never been ‘hacked’ on WhatsApp (we think) but this new tool ensures hackers, spies, the government etc, from reading our own personal messages. That’s got to be a good thing, right?
How does Whatsapp end-to-end encryption work?
All you have to do is scan the phones of the people you’re chatting to and WhatsApp will encrypt every message you send, every phone call you make on the app, every picture or video you post. All will be hidden in a secret place, where not even the company will be able to see them. The company stated that “No one can see inside that message. No cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.” WhatsApp is putting up a giant wall against the government, blocking them from viewing our private conversations.
However, according to The Independent, the app could still be storing ‘important’ information from users’ conversations. The WhatsApp privacy page clearly states: ‘ WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information associated with successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved…as well as any other information which WhatsApp is legal compelled to collect.’
So it’s not really that private, is it? The government could still be able to hack or request information shared on the increasingly popular texting app as legally, WhatsApp would have to compile with law enforcements requesting such data.
We’re yet to encrypt our phones. So far it doesn't sounds like a lot has changed and it’s too much effort going through the process for one teeny tiny change. Sorry, WhatsApp.
Like this? You might also be interested in…
Follow Alyss on Twitter @alyssbowen
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating