Social media and messenger applications are the two most prominent chat platforms amongst the people from this generation. It is vast and helps people to stay connected. Apart from that, there is a plethora of information available on the social media platform. A particular issue is crucial for every user who tends to use the social media or a messenger app. That is privacy. WhatsApp encryption has been a very controversial debate for long enough. Now, the recent terror attack in the U.K. is about to change that.
WhatsApp Encryption and Privacy
Whenever a user is signing up on a social networking site or a messenger app, they accept the privacy terms and conditions. The applications or websites clearly state that they will not share the user’s personal information on any other platform or with any third private. According to their privacy policies, the statement says that the users’ information is completely private and confidential.
WhatsApp has been one of the most renowned messenger apps. It has helped millions of people across the world to stay connected. In the recent times, they have been introducing many different kinds of updates. By far, the best update that the app has done is the WhatsApp encryption of the messages. This means that there will be no access to the third party or any other network. They cannot get an access to the conversations between two individuals.
London Incident Raises Concerns about WhatsApp Encryption
Unfortunately, an incident in London is going to take a big toll on WhatsApp. There was a terror attack in London at Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament by a few terrorists. A minimum of four died and around 40 incurred injuries during this attack. The attack actually started around 2:40 PM (London Time) when a speeding car let it loose on the pedestrians and there after everything happened to unleash.
All these incidents just happened within a fraction of seconds a mere time of 82 seconds and it was a dreadful sight to see. After this particular incident, the reaction regarding the WhatsApp encryption from around the corners of the world has been of different kinds of levels. They were clueless on why this incident actually occurred and what made them do it in the first place.
Khalid Masood Condemned
Rumor is that a 52-year-old Khalid Masood drove his Hyundai into the people walking down the streets. Unfortunately, a part of this particular incident occurred has been blamed upon the officials of the messenger app WhatsApp. A British government minister stated that there is a partial responsibility of the messenger app company, for this attack to take place.
Masood did not stop there, he went towards the parliament and stabbed one of the police officials with knives and killed the police officer. After a while, the armed officer who was in the surrounding aimed at Masood and shot him around 2 to 3 times and he happen to die with the injuries. Fortunately, the armed officer was able to nail the terrorist.
Khalid Masood a.k.a. Adrian Elms
The impact after this incident showed that Masood is a British born citizen with the name Adrian Elms. This is where WhatsApp comes into play. Rumor is that just before he went onto assaulting the people on the streets, he had used WhatsApp. The secretary for British Government Amber Rudd made a clear statement that the WhatsApp encryption of the messages, which is in the app to maintain the privacy of the user, is completely not acceptable.
More Allegations on the Case
Allegedly, Masood had used the app just moments before in rampaged his car onto the people. On the other side, Amber stated that there should be no place for these kinds of people are able to hide. It is clear that the legal authorities would like to have an access to the messages. This would mean access to messages ent and received between two individuals.
If we consider that particular fact then it would be against the privacy terms and conditions, which they have been following for this long. She as well stated that they should be sure with the fact that these kinds of organizations like WhatsApp and other social media. Messenger apps do not provide a place for them to hide and execute their plan successfully.
The oratory on “Anti WhatsApp encryption” given by Rudd is in line to the British government. He said not to have any kind of communication service, which is not accessible or tapped by the government officials. It is evident that the criminals and terrorists do find a safe place on the internet. They use it to plan and execute these cruelties amongst the people. They easily disrupt the harmony and peace shared in the world.
Is it a Conspiracy against WhatsApp Encryption?
When the messages exchanged have encryption, there is no way that the third person will be able to gain access to it. It is essential that there is an access made available for the government officials and the legal authorities. This will mean that they have access to the messages exchanged on a platform like WhatsApp.
There is a doubt about if Masood actually used the app to send or receive any kind of instructions prior to the attack. It is yet to be clear if Masood actually used the app or not. However, it is certain that there is an indication where there is a possibility for him to have used the app. The journalists got an access to his phone. They figured out that he was indeed active on the app before it went on to attack the people.
Unfortunately, there is no indication if he belongs to any group. If he followed this act under any one’s instruction. Considering all this, it is clear that WhatsApp gives access to the authorities to check the messages exchanged under his account. It is an undeniable fact that WhatsApp encryption is really strong and hard to crack as well.
Could No Encryption on WhatsApp Avert the Tragedy?
If the messages had no encryption in the first place, then there are possibilities that they would have been able to stop this attack from happening at all. This would have led the police department and spy agencies to crack down the information and would have saved those lives. The Prime Minister Theresa May made a statement. At the time, he was not under any kind of inquiry at the time of the attack.
It is the time where WhatsApp needs to modify its privacy terms and conditions. At least it should be providing an access to the legal authorities. This would make sure that everything is safe and secure. The company is aware of the fact that the users might refrain from using the app if they provided an access to the government officials.
Verdict on Encryption
WhatsApp has been undergoing many changes; modifications, updates, and there is the addition of a new plethora of features added to it. If there were any possibilities where they will be able to find alternative solutions to these kinds of issues, then they would definitely do so. It is not only that the government would like to have an access. Even the big tech companies and corporations would like to get and access to the messages. Truth is, “Security is more important than Privacy”.
You may want to read about the “WhatsApp Latest Update: Location Tracking Feature Included.”
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Anand Rajendran is the Co-Founder and CEO of Dectar a well-known Software products development and Mobile App Development Company based in Chennai, India. He has extensive experience in building and leading innovative and collaborative software development teams to deliver major software applications like Scimbo – WhatsApp Clone Script. He loves exploring new things and sharing his knowledge with others.