Whatsapp Introduces End-to-End Encryption

MEDIA ROOM

Whatsapp has recently introduced end-to-end encryption for all users. This move has been described by Professor Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy, as a ‘victory’ for individual privacy and security. However, critics have shown concerns about increased difficulty in tracking criminal activity.

They argued that the move will make it easier for criminals carrying out their criminal operations using the app to evade security and law enforcement agencies. Professor Cannataci pointed out that in this case it was far more important to preserve the fundamental right to privacy and security in personal communications of individual citizens. He stated that “enctryption increases security rather than diminishes it” as it reduces the risk of unlawful interception by individuals or organisations with criminal intent.

The new upgrade in Whatsapp’s privacy settings was recently announced and has been implemented on the latest version of the app. Going forward, messages, phone calls and media exchanged on Whatsapp by users will no longer be stored on servers and can only be read by sender and receiver. Whatsapp itself and third parties, including government agencies, will not be able to access content exchanged by users.

“The vast majority of citizens are law abiding, therefore it is only fair that they would expect that their privacy is properly protected in a democratic society, where security and law enforcement agencies should not be able to intercept communications at will,” commented Prof. Cannataci. As further response to the critics’ argument, he pointed out that most terrorist and organised crime groups would already have their own complex systems for exchanging encrypted information set in place, therefore in this case the benefits of this move outweigh any possible downsides.

The level of security provided by Whatsapp’s end-to-end encryption helps eliminate ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks by organised criminals, thus protecting individual users from eavesdropping and attempts at hacking.

Professor Cannataci encouraged individuals to consider encryption in their daily online activities and encrypt content on their phone, tablet, laptop and any other mobile device for the benefit of added protection.