The Facebook-owned app announced on Tuesday that it has added full end-to-end encryption for all communications. That means all text messages, file transfers and voice calls are scrambled en route between usersâ€™ phones so they canâ€™t be intercepted.
The news comes after the bitter public fight between the FBI and Apple over encryption. WhatsApp says its latest move makes it impossible for third parties â€” including government agencies, criminals and the company itself â€” to peek into usersâ€™ conversations within the service.
The new end-to-end encryption feature comes with the appâ€™s latest update, and will ensure that only the recipients of messages will be able to access them.
The company said in a statement:
â€œFrom 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.â€
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were recently involved in an encryption battle with Apple, has revealed its displeasure over Whatsappâ€™s new feature.
â€œWhatsApp and Facebook are great American companies,â€ FBI General Counsel James A Baker said. â€œBut encryption features like these presents us with a significant problem because criminals and terrorists could get ideas. It also has public safety costs. Folks have to understand that, and figure out how they are going to deal with that. Do they want the public to bear those costs? Do they want the victims of terrorism to bear those costs.â€