WhatsApp has just submitted a new update through the Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 22.214.171.124.
What’s new in this update? Discover all details below!
|Name of the feature?||Information about E2E Chats|
|I’ve the same version but I don’t see this news, why?||This change will be implemented in a future update|
|News about iOS?||No news yet|
Premise: this article is purely informative and conclusions can be drawn for the reader.
The last day we have published a tweet, mentioning the fact that WhatsApp was trying to avoid leaks for a new specific change in future.
Nice. WhatsApp is trying to avoid leaks for a new feature/option available in future for all platforms, but their efforts were unsuccessful.😜
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) October 28, 2020
Today, thanks to the new WhatsApp beta for Android 126.96.36.199 update, we have found more references that confirm what we thought: let’s see them in detail.
The first change will be added in WhatsApp Settings > Account > Security:
This screenshot allows us to understand the main difference: in the screenshot from a future update we can read “Messages and calls in end-to-end encrypted chats stay between you and the people or businesses you choose, so not even WhatsApp can read or listen to them.”, like WhatsApp wanted to specify that there might be different types of chats where the end-to-end encryption is not supported, don’t you think? It might not be so, but it is very confusing.
In fact we’ve also found some small references that might suggest chats to become end-to-end encrypted in “a decrypted state”.
Unfortunately it is too early to draw conclusions.
Security codes allow us to verify if a chat is end-to-end encrypted, but we’ve discovered that there might be some chats where this won’t be possible, because security codes won’t be available:
Maybe we’re simply wrong and this is because the user won’t have the possibility to compare his security code with the one owned by the recipient, but there’s more…
“Some businesses will be able to choose WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, to securely store messages and respond to customers. While Facebook will not automatically use your messages to inform the ads that you see, businesses will be able to use chats they receive for their own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.“.
In this case WhatsApp suggests to contact that business to learn more about its privacy practices.
The possibility for businesses to choose Facebook where to store messages will be enabled in 2021 (source: WhatsApp FAQ).
In the same FAQ we can also read that “The encryption status of an end-to-end encrypted chat cannot change without the change being visible to the user.”. Yes, WhatsApp is more specific here, mentioning “an end-to-end encrypted chat” again like in the first screenshot of the article.
It will be possible to verify if a chat is stored and managed on Facebook in Contact Info:
WhatsApp mentions the fact that messages and calls are secured while they’re being delivered to and from Facebook, but in this case it’s not possible to verify if the chat is really secured with e2e encryption using security codes.
Business accounts will be also able to leave Facebook or other companies: in this case WhatsApp will inform in the chat that the business no longer uses Facebook to manage its WhatsApp conversations, and you can learn how this changes privacy in the chat reading a particular WhatsApp FAQ in future.
The good news is that the user will always know when the chat is end-to-end encrypted and when another company uses an external service to manage and store conversations (WhatsApp already informs today when it happens, they never mention Facebook as company but in 2021 they will do).
Yes, the FAQ also mentions that “Every WhatsApp message is protected by the same Signal encryption protocol that secures messages before they leave your device. When you message a WhatsApp business account, your message is delivered securely to the destination chosen by the business.” and “WhatsApp considers chats with businesses that use the WhatsApp Business app or manage and store customer messages themselves to be end-to-end encrypted. Once the message is received, it will be subject to the business’s own privacy practices. The business may designate a number of employees, or even other vendors, to process and respond to the message.”, but this situation is really confusing, because WhatsApp will start to mention end-to-end chats in detail, references about decrypted chats to become encrypted chats and security codes in certain chats that won’t be available…
We’re going to post any important detail in the next weeks when there will be more information.
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