This latest feature is for your eyes only! The platform now offers users end-to-end encryption on all versions of their chats – even the backups. WhatsApp have been known for encrypting the messages on the App, but not the message history saved onto iCloud or Google Drive. This meant that if the government or law enforcement wanted access to your saved messages, Apple or Google could release them. Users can now protect their backups via password protection or a 64-digit encryption code that only they will have access to.
What are the risks?
While this change seems beneficial, it only makes WhatsApp a more desirable platform for abuse and grooming to take place as individual users gain more control over their privacy.
It will make it more difficult for investigators to access potential evidence if there is an incident.
View Once Images and Videos
Now you see it, soon you won’t! WhatsApp now have a ‘View Once’ photos and videos function. If the “1” icon is chosen before you send a photo or video, it will vanish after being viewed once, much like Snapchat.
This feature has now been released to all WhatsApp users in the UK and is an expansion of the ‘.
Here’s the key information:
What are the risks?
Users can still screenshot images and screen record videos. The sender won’t be alerted. Screenshots of images or videos can be used by a bully or an abuser to control, manipulate, or blackmail the original sender.
Images can also be captured in other ways, such as through a second camera device.
Just because an image or video disappears doesn’t mean the effect of sharing does. This feature could be used to spread inappropriate or harmful content without a user’s consent.
The ‘view it once’ justification is often used by offenders to convince vulnerable children to share images “because they will disappear.”
This feature can provide an illusion of safety for young people sharing images or videos that they believe will completely disappear, in group chats, friendship groups, or relationships.
Free Phone Messages
WhatsApp is no longer confined to relying on a phone connection to work. Although WhatsApp is primarily used via a mobile phone app, it can now be used through desktop browsers and web apps, even if the phone belonging to the associated account is not nearby. This feature also allows users to access their account on another device if their phone battery is dead or out of data.
This feature has now been released to all WhatsApp users in the UK.
Here’s what you need to know:
Up to four devices can be used together, including desktop browsers and tablets
Messages will still be sent through end-to-end encryption
Users will not need to have their primary mobile device with them to access their WhatsApp account
What are the potential risks?
Domestic abusers and stalkers could potentially use this new feature to their advantage by stealing private QR codes, which would allow them access to victim’s WhatsApp account. They could then see all of the victim’s messages. As this feature is in testing, we do not yet know if Two-Factor Authentication will be used to ensure the primary account holder can control the devices attached to their account.
There is the potential for QR codes to be shared publicly, which can put anyone at risk of being contacted by a stranger.
If the same account can now be accessed in multiple places without the primary mobile device being nearby, this means the account may be used by multiple people.