WhatsApp messages were encrypted on both ends for its users. This made it almost impossible for law enforcement to access them. This was in reaction to the San Bernadino, California incident where an Apple iPhone was used to communicate terrorist activity, causing 14 deaths. Even though headline said ‘impossible’, the article said something different.
For WhatsApp users, this encryption will lock hackers and suppressive governments from using one’s information from incriminating them. In simple laymen’s terms, the only person or people who were able to view a message sent via the chat service was the receiver or group for which it was intended.
U.S. investigators requested Apple’s help gaining entry into a device linked to the mass shooting in California, last year. Apple declined the request, but it was technically possible for it to find a way that would have permitted them access into the locked iPhone — as investigators later showed when they hacked into the phone without Apple.
Thankfully, the government didn’t have to breach everyone’s right to privacy by getting the court to rule on whether or not it was legal for them to use their method of retrieving the information. Law enforcement found a way to open the phone without using illegal methods with the above incident. Anytime someone used a chat service for terrorist activity, their rights as an American citizen should be revoked, especially if they showed signs of becoming radicalized by ISIS.
There was a loophole in this situation. While the government couldn’t actually ‘demand’ one turn over their encrypted messages, they were still able to get to them, if they were able to surpass the lock screen that was either protected by password, number or pattern and open the app that way. The biggest uproar with the media outcry was a person’s right to privacy being violated.
In my case, snoopers had to know the five digit code to open my WhatsApp messages when my phone was locked. While there wasn’t anything to hide, keeping the pop up messages privately in the kitchen was paramount, especially since the counter was the communal area used by everyone in the house. My major concern was protecting the innocent from explicit messages, emails and pictures when locking my phone.
Nothing was ‘impossible’ to gain access to, especially if they can gain access to WhatsApp encrypted messages without using a hacking program.