tech news

WhatsApp defends encryption as it tops two billion users

SAN FRANCISCO: The Fb-owned messaging service WhatsApp stated Feb 12 it now has greater than two billion customers around the globe because it reaffirmed its dedication to robust encryption to guard privateness.

WhatsApp, acquired by Fb in 2014, has grown into some of the extensively used providers within the Fb “household” of apps, providing free messaging together with voice and video calls.

“Non-public conversations that after had been solely doable face-to-face can now happen throughout nice distances by way of immediate chats and video calling,” a WhatsApp weblog put up stated.

“There are such a lot of important and particular moments that happen over WhatsApp and we’re humbled and honored to achieve this milestone.”

The assertion stated WhatsApp remained dedicated to its “robust encryption” that allows customers to attach privately even amid calls by legislation enforcement in the USA and elsewhere to supply extra entry.

“Sturdy encryption is a necessity in fashionable life. We won’t compromise on safety as a result of that will make individuals much less secure,” WhatsApp stated.

“For much more safety, we work with prime safety consultants, make use of trade main know-how to cease misuse in addition to present controls and methods to report points – with out sacrificing privateness.”

Final week, baby safety organisations referred to as on Fb to halt plans for robust encryption of all its platforms, saying that will permit predators to function freely.

WhatsApp employs “finish to finish encryption” which may in lots of instances forestall legislation enforcement from accessing consumer information even with a courtroom order.

The social community is working to increase end-to-end encryption throughout its messaging functions, together with Fb Messenger and Instagram.

Again door dilemma

Little one safety teams have expressed fears that stronger encryption of on-line exchanges would facilitate the sharing of kid pornography.

Backers of robust encryption argue that any particular entry or “backdoors” allowed for legislation enforcement would weaken safety and might be exploited by criminals, hackers and authoritarian governments.

Officers from the US, Britain and Australia late final 12 months referred to as on Fb to permit authorities to bypass encryption to higher battle extremism, baby pornography and different crimes.

The heads of Fb’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Will Cathcart and Stan Chudnovsky, responded in a letter to officers from the three international locations that permitting this type of “backdoor” entry “can be a present to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes” whereas leaving customers susceptible.

Fb’s stance on encryption has been backed by greater than 100 activist organizations, safety consultants and trade teams who warned in opposition to efforts to pressure tech firms to weaken encryption.

Regardless of its robust encryption, WhatsApp has seen flaws exploited in our on-line world.

Human rights activists have stated that spyware and adware hidden in WhatsApp messages, doable developed by Israel-based NSO Group, was used to trace dissidents and others.

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos’s cellphone can be believed to have been contaminated by spyware and adware hidden in a WhatsApp message from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

WhatsApp in October sued NSO Group, accusing it of utilizing the messaging service to conduct cyberespionage on journalists, human rights activists and others.


WhatsApp is one member of the Fb app “household” that features its core social community, Instagram and Messenger.

Fb stated not too long ago some 2.89 billion individuals globally are each day customers of at the least certainly one of these providers.

However the development has additionally attracted consideration of regulators and activists involved over the dominance of main tech platforms. Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has been amongst these calling for the breakup of the large know-how corporations.

Fb has argued in opposition to the concept of a breakup, saying the corporate is healthier capable of hold its providers secure and safe with a unified infrastructure. – AFP

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