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WhatsApp Introduces End-to-End Encryption
By: New York Times
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WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Facebook and used by more than one billion people, on Tuesday introduced full encryption for its service, a way to ensure that only the sender and recipient can read messages sent using the app.

Known as “end-to-end encryption,” it will be applied to photos, videos and group text messages sent among people in more than 50 languages across the world, including India, Brazil and Europe. Previously, only one-to-one text messages were fully encrypted.

“Every day we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. “And if nothing is done, more of people’s digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come.”

“Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities,” the company said.

The move thrusts WhatsApp further into a standoff between tech companies and law enforcement officials over access to digital data, one that pits Silicon Valley’s civil libertarian ideals against the federal government’s concerns over national security. Increased encryption will make it more difficult, if not impossible, for the authorities to intercept WhatsApp communications for investigations.

The government has faced similar issues with companies like Telegram, Signal and Wickr Me, messaging services that also offer encrypted communications.

The debate over access to digital data erupted in February when a federal court in California ordered Apple to help crack open an iPhone used by a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif., rampage last year. Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, resisted the order, saying that the company needed to protect individuals’ privacy. Law enforcement officials, including the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, have criticized encryption as a hindrance to investigations, including in terrorism cases.


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This article was published by the New York Times. A link to the original post can be found below. www.nytimes.com
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