Every since WhatsApp implemented the end-to-end encryption features on the 5th of April, everything that has anything to do with a conversation between two people on the app, is visible only to those two parties involved. There is absolutely no way for third parties to spy on those conversations which include hackers, government agencies like the FBI or CIA, even WhatsApp, etc.
It’s basically like this, when you send a message to anybody, you lock it and only the person that receives the message has the key to unlock it. Every message, sound or video recording has that feature and it happens automatically so there’s no need for special settings on the phone.
Due to the recent terrorist attacks, world governments have started to see the danger implied by these types of messaging apps. In some countries, WhatsApp has been even shut down temporarily.
In the US some of the senators have almost accused the app of locking out the police and keeping them for doing their jobs effectively.
On the other hand, as far as technology efficiency goes, WhatsApp has been praised on numerous occasions for the end-to-end encryption feature as being on the forefront of privacy for the masses and as an example to be followed by other companies.
However, there are still some things that are not quite all right about WhatsApp’s encryption system.
- The metadata. WhatsApp’s servers store all of the metadata (messages, calls) and although it can’t read the messages, it can certainly see what phone numbers were used and the timestamps for the conversations and calls. So really, if WhatsApp would legally be forced to surrender all of that data, then certain third parties might find out about it.
- Facebook. Facebook is the owner of WhatsApp as of 2014 and it’s not known for being very client privacy orientated. Facebook make money out of the ads they present to you and they present them by storing info about you from the profile you have to the links that you click. Therefore, Facebook is not the best indicator that WhatsApp will be protecting privacy in the future as well. In fact, the company has been making some attempts at combining WhatsApp profiles with Facebook ones which means that it may be able to make more accurate profiles for users in order to sell ads more efficiently.
- Money. WhatsApp is not making any money for Facebook right now but it probably will, in the future. There’s only so much money a company can pump into something before it will want something back. Sure, Facebook has been developing a business orientated messanging service that will make communication between customers and firms easier: like ordering a pizza or making a dinner reservation via WhatsApp.
Lets’s just hope that in the future, WhatsApp will stay true to the high standard for privacy that it has created for itself and towards which every other company should aspire.