- All messages sent on the mobile messaging application WhatsApp will now have end-to-end encryption, the company announced Tuesday.
- In an effort to protect private communication, the latest version of the app gives users full encryption as the default setting for all calls, messages, photos, videos, files and voice messages.
- Facebook-owned WhatsApp added the increased security because of expectations that, in the future, more people's digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack, the company said.
Several of the large tech companies have explored encrypted messaging products, only to scrap their project because encryption can make products more difficult to use. But given Apple’s high-profile battle with the Department of Justice, encryption is suddenly becoming a selling point for both consumers and businesses alike. Google and Snapchat are both reportedly working on projects that would increase privacy technology in their respective products.
In March, Amazon faced backlash after removing encryption on its Fire devices. Following pressure from both privacy experts and users, the company quickly reversed its decision and restored the option. Encryption will likely become the rule as companies face pressure and public scrutiny if they do not act to boost privacy.
With more than a billion users, WhatsApp is working to ensure that, by default, users' private communications are fully protected, whether its from hackers or governments.
"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," the company said in its announcement. "No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us."