Popular messaging platform WhatsApp is updating its messenger app in order to protect text and voice call with strong end-to-end encryption.
Encryption is a means to enhance the security of communication via mobile devices by scrambling the contents that it may only be read by someone who has the right encryption key to unscramble it.
This increased privacy mechanism now available on whatsApp could potentially put millions more conversations outside the reach of local and international law enforcement.
All of WhatsApp’s 1 billion users, when running the latest version of the app on an iPhone, a Google Android device, a Nokia or a Blackberry, will now be able to send and receive messages, attachments and voice calls which experts say may only be deciphered by the intended recipient.
An encrypted messaging developer at Open Whisper Systems Moxie Marlinspike, whose technology forms the backbone of WhatsApp’s encryption says this means that the app shouldn’t be able to facilitate a wiretap of the contents of users’ messages, even if faced with a court order.
It’s unclear whether the company will be able to assist authorities to intercept data when they use WhatsApp or with whom they communicate.
But what does this mean for Jamaicans who use the messaging app?
Recall in 2014 popular entertainer Vybz Kartel was convicted of murder after incriminating voice notes were retrieved from his Blackberry Torch mobile.
Twenty four voice notes were taken from Kartel’s phone by investigators from the Police Cyber Crimes Unit which the court heard and ultimately sealed his fate.
This means that the development may pose a challenge to law enforcement in Jamaica.
Local Technology Entrepreneur at Prodigy Systems Gawayne Beckford explains the challenge the increased privacy on whatsApp may pose to cyber and intelligence driven police investigations.