Didn’t we just say that WhatsApp already has full end-to-end encryption for messages, calls, files? The recognition the Facebook-owned company that delivers convenient and secure instant messaging is not entirely true as not everything is fully encrypted. WhatsApp is not encrypting all calls, files, and messages. The idea is listed right there on the terms and conditions so it’s not really a secret. Read the document carefully and you’ll see.
The fine print reads:
“WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information associated with successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved in the messages, as well as any other information which WhatsApp is legally compelled to collect.”
So there is still the possibility that the app “may” keep the date and time information for messages that have been delivered including the phone numbers and other contact details of people part of the conversation. The idea that the items you share with another person via WhatsApp are safe, secure, and private–is not true at all. If you think only your contact can see the message or file, well, you may be surprised that anyone in the future can gather information pertaining to what you have sent.
How is this possible if WhatsApp already said that actual contents are not stored on any servers? Some information may be left like the date, time, or phone number of the receiver. Although those information may be useless, the government could still obtain the data if necessary. End-to-end encryption includes group chats so even those conversations can leave some trails even if incomplete.
WhatsApp may have responded to the recent issue between Apple and the FBI as a way to ensure customers that their conversations are safe. The WhatsApp management was proud to announce that, “No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.”
Over a billion people would benefit from the supposed end-to-end encryption. Safety, privacy, and security are important in this digital age but if we are to look at the ‘Terms of Service’ it’s not all private and encrypted.
Then again, there’s also a note below that Privacy Notice was last modified almost four years ago-July 7, 2012. What we just read is an old document. WhatsApp could have just forgotten to update the Legal Info page. We’ll see. Cross your fingers.