Whatsapp tightens encryption in the wake of FBI, Apple court battle

All of WhatsApp’s billion users will send and receive messages, attachments and voice calls that engineers say can only be deciphered by the intended recipient

The popular messaging service WhatsApp said Tuesday it had implemented "full end-to-end encryption," a move which steps up privacy but may lead to conflicts with law enforcement agencies.

The Facebook-owned mobile application with one billion users worldwide made the announcement following weeks of intense debate over efforts by US FBI authorities to compel Apple to help break into an encrypted iPhone. 

The FBI dropped a court battle with Apple over its iPhone encryption, and Brazilian police recently arrested a Facebook executive because WhatsApp couldn’t provide messages sent by a criminal suspect.

All of WhatsApp’s billion users, when running the latest version of the app on iPhone, a Google Android device, Nokia or Blackberry, will send and receive messages, attachments and voice calls that engineers say can only be deciphered by the intended recipient.

"WhatsApp has always prioritized making your data and communication as secure as possible," a blog post announcing the change said.

"And today, we're proud to announce that we've completed a technological development that makes WhatsApp a leader in protecting your private communication: full end-to-end encryption."

This means that "when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to," the statement said.

"No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us." 

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