Following last month update which added end-to-end encryption for chat back-ups, WhatsApp has today in its latest update, proceed with its data security push, encrypting messages backed up to Google Drive or iCloud. Although the new addition is made optional to ensure additional protection for messages back-ups stored outside of WhatsApp.
As seen in the image attached to this thread above, now users can further secure their information by including a password or encryption key for chat back-ups.
As explained by WhatsApp;
“No other global messaging service at this scale provides this level of security for their users’ messages, media, voice messages, video calls, and chat backups.”
What this means is that no authority, not even WhatsApp itself, will be able to access your saved data (back-ups) nor the key to unlock and gain access to your back-ups.
Although, the move does not sit too well with some Government agencies. Especially law enforcement, as in the past, they could tap into unencrypted information/interaction history of users under investigation/suspected of a crime. This move by WhatsApp, they feel will offer additional protection to criminals who use the messaging service to conduct illegal activity. And this has been reiterated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). According to Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive;
“Private messaging is at the front line of child sexual abuse, but the current debate around end-to-end encryption risks leaving children unprotected where there is most harm.”
In October 2019, the UK, US and Australian Government representatives co-signed an open letter to Facebook calling for a halt on the move for a full messaging encryption plans. Arguing that it would;
“...put our citizens and societies at risk by severely eroding capacity to detect and respond to illegal content and activity, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorism, and foreign adversaries’ attempts to undermine democratic values and institutions, preventing the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims.”
The Governments of each region had asked Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, for a backdoor access for official investigations should WhatsApp still insist on its plans, but Facebook has repeatedly refused, prioritising the privacy of its users above everything. And this has also been extended to Facebook Messenger app, for voice and video calls, with Instagram Direct to follow soon.
The update is still been rolled out and yet to be available in certain regions. But for those who must have received it, to enable end-to-end encryption for chat back-ups,
• Open Settings.
• Tap Chats > Chat Backup > End-to-end Encrypted Backup.
• Tap Turn On, then follow the prompts to create a password or key.
• Tap Create and wait for WhatsApp to prepare your end-to-end encrypted backup. You might need to connect to a power source.
Note: You won’t be able to restore your backup if you lose your WhatsApp chats and forget your password or key. WhatsApp can’t reset your password or restore your backup for you.
Leave a like or comment below if you’ve updated your WhatsApp and currently have the end-to-end encryption for chat back-ups enabled. And also don’t forget to follow me on Tspot for more.