six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Linked by Dan Moren

Messaging app WhatsApp is now encrypted end-to-end

Really fascinating article from Wired by Cade Metz, about the quiet way in which messaging app WhatsApp fully encrypted its entire service:

Mountain View is home to WhatsApp, an online messaging service now owned by tech giant Facebook, that has grown into one of the world’s most important applications. More than a billion people trade messages, make phone calls, send photos, and swap videos using the service. This means that only Facebook itself runs a larger self-contained communications network. And today, the enigmatic founders of WhatsApp, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, together with a high-minded coder and cryptographer who goes by the pseudonym Moxie Marlinspike, revealed that the company has added end-to-end encryption to every form of communication on its service.

As the article points out, WhatsApp isn’t super prominent in the U.S., but it has a huge adoption overseas. A large part of its appeal is that it works on pretty much any phone platform.

It’s not hard to follow the trend line on encryption. More and more of our digital communications and data are going to be secured in this way—and they should be—which is going to be more and more frustrating for governments, including in the U.S. But frankly, tough noogies: it’s not the responsibility of citizens or private corporations to make things easy for the government, especially at the cost of everybody else’s security.