This means that if any group of people uses the latest version of WhatsApp—whether that group spans two people or ten—the service will encrypt all messages, phone calls, photos, and videos moving among them. And that’s true on any phone that runs the app, from iPhones to Android phones to Windows phones to old school Nokia flip phones. With end-to-end encryption in place, not even WhatsApp’s employees can read the data that’s sent across its network. In other words, WhatsApp has no way of complying with a court order demanding access to the content of any message, phone call, photo, or video traveling through its service. Like Apple, WhatsApp is, in practice, stonewalling the federal government, but it’s doing so on a larger front—one that spans roughly a billion devices.
I can’t help but wonder if/when encryption will be illegal in the United States, UK, and France — these three countries seem to be the ones who want it gone most. It should of course never come to that. And I truly hope it doesn’t.
Also: Wired’s title is completely baffling. We should never forget about the Apple vs. FBI kerfuffle.