WhatsApp is introducing end-to-end encryption to protect its users from cybercriminals, hackers, and oppressive regimes, the messaging service has announced.
End-to-end encryption means messages sent through WhatsApp will be scrambled as they leave a users device and decrypted by the recipients device. However, it will not hide who the messages are being sent to and from.
The Facebook-owned messaging platform, which has more than one billion users worldwide, follows other messaging services like Telegram in encrypting users communications.
Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age, WhatsApp said in a blogpost on Tuesday.
While WhatsApp is among the few communication platforms to build full end-to-end encryption that is on by default for everything you do, we expect that it will ultimately represent the future of personal communication.
The move by WhatsApp to introduce end-to-end encryption has been praised by privacy advocates and human rights organisations, with Amnesty International calling it a major boost to freedom of speech.
WhatsApps roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end-to-end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for peoples ability to express themselves and communicate without fear, Amnesty International said in a statement.
This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk