Recently, WhatsApp announced that the chat backups stored on Google Drive will not be counted against the 15GB that is being offered for free to consumers. This news was largely perceived well by WhatsApp users as it meant unlimited chats, photos and videos shared by them could now be stored on Google Drive. Although, a fresh statement issued by WhatsApp today may be a cause of worry for users.
WhatsApp has today put an updated statement on its website that chats saved on Google Drive will not be end-to-end encrypted. “Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive,” said WhatsApp on its site.
WhatsApp end-to-end encryption is a security feature that was introduced to ensure no one (including WhatsApp) apart from the people communicating with each other can access the messages, photos and videos sent to each other. This means that this automatic system enables every message sent to have a unique lock and key, which only the senders and recipients have access to.
However, if the WhatsApp data stored on Google Drive is not encrypted it could mean that Google would have to provide the data to law agencies or the government if they ask for information. To curb the fake news being circulated on WhatsApp that lead to several deaths in India, the Government of India was seeking a little more control over the popular messaging site. WhatsApp agreed to most of the demands except helping trace an origin of the message, which would mean putting their privacy feature at risk. Therefore, it may be now possible for the Government of India to leverage today’s developments to control and punish those indulging in rumor mongering on WhatsApp.