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WhatsApp encryption poses potential security threat

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WhatsApp’s new enhanced encryption policy may be good news for the privacy of its 1 billion users across the world, but security firms are now up in arms over the development. Agencies in India fear the system could be a potential security threat and allow anti-national elements to thrive.

To recap, WhatsApp now provides end-to-end encryption for all chats, videos, voice calls and documents across one-on-one conversations and groups. The added level of security makes sure no entity can snoop on a user, whether it’s the app itself or a government.

The latter part is what’s causing concern among security agencies in India. The new system doesn’t allow access to WhatsApp chats between dangerous groups. Brazil had faced a similar situation recently when its demands for information were turned down by the company, leading to the arrest of a Facebook executive.

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As per PTI, WhatsApp is currently being used extensively by separatists and anti-national gatherings in Jammu and Kashmir to spread rumors which lead to violent conflicts. Sources claim the matter is of such great concern to security bureaus that they’re planning to take up the issue with the Telecom Ministry.

The firms hope to make sure proper safeguards are in place before the services are allowed in India. The government had previously red-flagged BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS), BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES) under similar circumstances.

The move had forced BlackBerry to install a server in the country in order to facilitate real-time information gathering by security agencies. It’s too early to tell whether WhatsApp will be made to do the same, though it seems unlikely as of now.