WhatsApp to let users encrypt chat history backup to the cloud

1 month ago 128

WhatsApp is increasing its privacy and security features, allowing users the option to encrypt their chat history backup in the iCloud or Google Drive.

Although the Facebook-owned messaging platform already lets users encrypt messages, it did not have a function to store these encrypted chats in the cloud. This meant governments and law enforcement could, in the past, obtain and view messages between WhatsApp users.

In a blog post published on 14 October, Facebook said it was the first company to roll out such extensive privacy features.

“Starting today, we are making available an extra, optional layer of security to protect backups stored on Google Drive or iCloud with end-to-end encryption. No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls and chat backups.”

Users can now secure their end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of their choice or a private 64-digit encryption key. WhatsApp and backup service providers will not be able to read users’ backups or access the key required to unlock their messages.

The app’s two billion users send more than 100 billion messages every day. People will have to manually activate the new feature, as it is optional. It will be available in every market where WhatsApp is operational. The company did not say whether it discussed its plans with law enforcement agencies or government agencies.

Earlier this year, the company was involved in a massive legal row with the Indian government over privacy. Whatsapp sued over India’s updated rules which allowed the government more powers to trace “unlawful” messages.

WhatsApp said the new regulations would lead to “mass surveillance.”

Privacy-focused organisation Electronic Frontier Foundation praised WhatsApp’s move. It also took the opportunity to criticise Apple which has been reluctant to add encryption to iCloud backups.

“This privacy win from Facebook-owned WhatsApp is striking in its contrast to Apple,” it said in a blog post, which claimed the former’s decision was a “big win for user privacy and security.” It called for Apple to provide encryption across iCloud backups.

“WhatsApp is raising the bar, and Apple and others should follow suit.”

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

The post WhatsApp to let users encrypt chat history backup to the cloud appeared first on Silicon Republic.

Read Entire Article