WhatsApp extends encryption to photos, video, other messages

BRANDON BAILEY, AP Technology Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — WhatsApp says it’s now using a powerful form of encryption to protect the security of photos, videos, group chats and voice calls in addition to text messages sent by more than a billion users around the globe.

The service owned by Facebook began applying "end-to-end" encryption to messages sent on Android smartphones in 2014. It has since expanded that to include all types of messages sent with its app on Android phones, Apple’s iPhones and other devices.

Encryption has become a hotly debated subject, with some authorities warning that criminals and extremists can use it to hide their tracks. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum grew up in the Soviet Union and says he believes consumers should have easy-to-use encryption as protection against hackers, identity thieves and "rogue" governments.

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