The company’s post highlighted that WhatsApp couldn’t provide law enforcement with access to customers’ messages, as even the staff that developed the service didn’t have backdoor for the encryption.
“The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message,” announced WhatsApp in a blog post regarding the update. “Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.”
The update has been in the works for two years and became possible due to software developed by security non-profit organization Open Whisper Systems.
"Now every message, photo, video, file, and voice message you send, is end-to-end encrypted by default if you and the people you message use the latest version of our app. Even your group chats and voice calls are encrypted," Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO and co-founder, wrote on his Facebook page.
Koum added that the step is intended to “not allow this dangerous precedent to be set,” referring to FBI attempts to unlock the iPhone of one of the attackers involved in a shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people in December 2015.
"Our freedom and liberty is at stake," he declared in his Facebook address.