WhatsApp Developing New Label For End-to-End Encryption In Chats

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WhatsApp Developing New Label For End-to-End Encryption In Chats

In a recent development, WhatsApp is reportedly working on introducing a new feature to indicate when conversations are end-to-end encrypted. This update comes amid ongoing concerns about encryption and privacy in messaging apps.

The popular instant messaging platform has been observed testing a new end-to-end encryption (E2EE) label for both group and individual chats. This label, which is still in the development phase aims to reassure users that their messages are securely encrypted, with WhatsApp not retain any data.

The news follows closely the heels of a post by Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company, addressing challenges with E2EE implementation and delays in integrating third-party chats in Europe, prompted by the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Discovered by WABetaInfo, a feature tracker, the new development was spotted in the WhatsApp beta for Android version 2.24.6.11, accessible to select beta testers. Released on 9th March via the Google Play Beta Program, the update appears to have a limited rollout, indicating ongoing testing and potential further modifications.

According to reports, the new label, labelled “end-to-end encrypted,” is positioned below the group or contact name in chats, accompanied by a lock icon. It vanishes after a brief period, displaying either the last seen status for individual chats or the names of participants in group conversations. This feature is seen as an additional layer of encryption visibility within the messaging app.

This new encryption feature could appear in WhatsApp beta versions 2.24.6.10, 2.24.6.8, and 2.24.6.7, for Android. This addition has been in the beta testing phase for some time now, indicating that WhatsApp is still working on it.

WhatsApp already displays an E2EE label on its home screen, beneath all chats, as well as during video and voice calls, and in statuses. Moreover, users have the option to manually verify encryption by accessing the Encryption tab in the contact info section.

This forthcoming label aims to provide users with a proactive reminder of their encryption status, particularly in light of recent concerns raised by Meta regarding encryption risks associated with third-party chats in Europe.

Meta, employing the Signal protocol-based Noise Protocol Framework for data encryption, underlined its commitment to encryption within WhatsApp but acknowledged limitations once data reaches third-party platforms. At the same time, it has urged messaging apps to enter agreements with Meta and adopt secure protocols such as the Signal protocol.

WhatsApp’s move to enhance encryption visibility reflects its ongoing efforts to prioritize user security and privacy in an evolving digital landscape.

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