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WhatsApp Enables End-to-End Encryption

WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton:

From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats.

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. 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.

If you’re interested in learning more about how end-to-end encryption works, you can read about it here. But all you need to know is that end-to-end encrypted messages can only be read by the recipients you intend. And if you’re using the latest version of WhatsApp, you don’t have to do a thing to encrypt your messages: end-to-end encryption is on by default and all the time.

Wired has a good story on this, but with a headline that makes it sound like they were trying to hit their quota of Apple-related stories: “Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People”. WhatsApp’s use of end-to-end encryption doesn’t have anything to do with Apple — and the last thing anyone who cares about encryption and private communication should do is “forget” about Apple and the FBI. So strange.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016