Whatsapp Encryption Fuels the Data Security-Privacy DebateDavid Burgundy | 15 Aug 2016
In recent months there’s been much debate about the Apple vs. FBI battle. Opinion is split between those advocating citizen privacy above all, even if it compromises safety and security, and those who believe that if information exchanged poses a risk, it should be intercepted and examined by an investigative agency.
In the midst of this ongoing war, Whatsapp announced that going forward, messages, videos, images, voice notes and calls exchanged on their platform would be encrypted and that all data would remain completely confidential; shared only between the sender and the receiver. Not even Whatsapp’s servers are able to decrypt messages and this state-of-the-art encryption has been implemented automatically, without any input from the user.
This bold step has blown the FBI-Apple debate out the water, as Whatsapp has become the single largest encrypted chat platform globally.
Pros and Cons of Data Security
In an online world that’s characterized by a chronic lack of security, being able to send encrypted messages certainly appears attractive. With Whatsapp’s new encryption roll out, users have become more aware of how vulnerable their information can be, and have been given peace of mind that what they share over this messaging system remains confidential.
Of course, the downside to such secure encryption is that messages exchanged with nefarious intent, planning acts of terror or other similar criminal activities cannot be intercepted at any stage, nor can an investigative agency access data that may prevent or prove involvement in such cases.
The line between security and privacy has been very clearly drawn by Whatsapp. Users have now been given a completely secure platform on which to liaise in whichever manner they see fit; something that many view as opening Pandora’s box.
Online and Mobile Data Security in All Spheres
Mobile security and protection of privacy is important in all spheres and the introduction of Whatsapp’s new end-to-end encryption has put the spotlight on other apps that provide services whereby information is exchanged.
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Setting a Precedent
With over 1 billion users globally, Whatsapp has proven that keeping users data secure and private is a priority, even if it may be controversial. The enforcement of the end-to-end encryption has set the standard for many other online and mobile service providers to follow, and has raised the bar in online security.