WhatsApp to increase security with encrypted voice chats, as tech companies look to hide messages from governments

Many of the biggest firms in Silicon Valley are looking to make messages un-crackable, in the wake of a high-profile dispute between Apple and the FBI

WhatsApp is about to add encrypted video chats to its app, so that nobody could snoop on its users even if they tried, according to reports.

The Facebook-owned company is looking to further bulk up the security of its messaging app in the wake of a high-profile dispute between the FBI and tech companies about whether they should make it easier to snoop on messages.

The most high-profile of those arguments has been between Apple and the US government, over whether the company should be compelled to help unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino killers. Apple argues that creating software to break into that phone would endanger all of its devices, by creating a tool that could be used to weaken encryption on any handset.

But WhatsApp has been quietly involved in similar rows. This week it emerged that the company is arguing with the US government about whether it should try and grant access to encrypted chats, and one of Facebook’s vice presidents was arrested in Brazil after WhatsApp refused to hand over user data to the country’s government.

Adding encrypted voice chats will mean that all of the messages that pass through WhatsApp will be secure, since the feature is already offered for text messages. That will mean that the chats of all kinds will only be able to be read by the people sending and receiving them.

Google, Facebook and Snapchat are all working on similar products, according to the Guardian, which first reported on the WhatsApp news. It isn’t clear what those products will be and they are further from launch than WhatsApp’s, but they will probably include some of the same protections.

Comments