WhatsApp Announces End-to-End Encryption

WhatsAppFacebook-owned WhatsApp has announced end-to-end encryption, promising users more privacy. The news follows the recent debate between Apple and the FBI, which wanted to access iPhones of those involved in the San Bernardino terrorist shooting. 

In a blog post, WhatsApp co-founders describe the new technology. The post continues after the excerpt here: "The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation." The notice links to a description of the security features

PR Daily comments on the political implications of the technology and announcement:

As you can imagine, this will do nothing to foster good will in the already tenuous relationship between the United States government, which would seemingly prefer to be able to see everyone's data all the time, and tech companies in Silicon Valley, which are receiving increasing user demands for more privacy and security.

Discussion Starters: 

  • Assess the founders' blog post: the organization, word choice, and so on. What makes this a persuasive message? Where does it fall short?
  • Although the company ensures security, the system isn't foolproof. What are some ways that people other than the recipients might see a message?