Every single of one of WhatsApp’s one billion users now has access to end-to-end encryption for all data sent through the social media network. That means the Facebook-owned solution has effectively created the world’s largest and most widespread social media network.

“From now on when you and your contacts use the latest version of the app, every call you make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default, including group chats,” WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton wrote in an April 5, 2016, blog post.

Not even WhatsApp’s own employees will be able to see data transmitted through its system, Wired reported. To make the network more secure WhatsApp would not even be able to comply with a warrant or a federal court order to decrypt a message.

The encryption will cover everything sent out on WhatsApp including phone calls and group chats, a Wired article claimed. It will also work on all devices including iPhones, Android devices, and even old-fashioned Nokia flip phones.

Facebook Defends Your Freedom

The encryption was created by a self-styled cryptographer who calls himself Moxie Marlinspike according to Wired. Marlinspike operates an open-sourced organization called Open Whisper System that specializes in message encryption. He’s apparently been working with Koum and Acton and presumably their boss, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg for some time.

The men who are bringing encryption to the masses, WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum.
The men who are bringing encryption to the masses, WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum.

Koum is an outspoken advocate of encryption because of his childhood in the Soviet Union where the KGB monitored all phone lines. The Ukrainian American cited countries where there are no checks and balances to protect freedom as a rationale for encryption. His statement is a thinly veiled reference to the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees privacy in communications.

The US government has not moved against WhatsApp so far, but in the United Kingdom the government of Prime Minister David Cameron has tried to ban the app. There is no Fourth Amendment in Great Britain, so Parliament has the power to suppress encryption in that nation.

Is WhatsApp Encryption for Freedom or is it a Business Decision?

Koum, Acton and Zuckerberg’s action might not be as altruistic as it seems. Adding encryption to the free app will make it more popular and more appealing in developing nations with oppressive or corrupt governments. It will also help make WhatsApp a business solution – which is a major goal of Zuckerberg’s.

“Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on February 1.

facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-grey-t-shirt

An encrypted WhatsApp would be a natural choice for ecommerce particularly for those trying to keep credit card, bank account and other financial data safe. One obvious use for an encrypted WhatsApp would be as the basis for a payment app to compete with Apple Pay and PayPal’s Venmo. Another would be as an enabler for ecommerce much like Bitcoin is.

Other business uses of an encrypted WhatsApp could be as a means of communication for professionals such as attorneys and accountants that have an obligation to keep client information confidential. WhatsApp could also serve as a low-cost data-storage solution similar to Dropbox for such professionals. Such a market could be huge, especially in countries where people assume all communications are under surveillance.

One has to wonder how long will be before the tax collectors of the world come after WhatsApp. There is one certainty here: an encrypted WhatsApp will be a massive game changer that a lot of people especially in government are not going to like.

 

https://i2.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/whatsapp-520x245.jpg?fit=520%2C245&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/whatsapp-520x245.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Daniel JenningsTechBrian Acton,encrypted WhatsApp,end-to-end encryption,end-to-end encryption for all data,Facebook (NASDAQ: FB),Facebook Defends Your Freedom,Jan Koum,Mark Zuckerberg,Moxie Marlinspike,social media encryption,Social Networks,WhatsApp a business solution,WhatsApp EncryptionEvery single of one of WhatsApp’s one billion users now has access to end-to-end encryption for all data sent through the social media network. That means the Facebook-owned solution has effectively created the world’s largest and most widespread social media network. “From now on when you and your contacts use...From A Geek to a Geek