Whatsapp to encrypt users

Facebook-owned instant messaging service Whatsapp has announced it will encrypt communications for all its billion users.

Using end-to-end encryption, messages are rendered unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement.

Whatsapp said promoting private communications was one of its “core beliefs”. Encryption was recently thrown under the spotlight by the battle between the FBI and Apple.

Whatsapp’s move is likely to irk law enforcement agencies, particularly the US Department of Justice which has recently expressed concern over “unreachable” information contained in devices.

Amnesty International called the move a “huge victory for privacy and free speech”, and a “major boost for people’s ability to express themselves and communicate without fear”.