Security and privacy are the prime terminologies equivalent to WhatsApp. In fact, this Facebook owned social messaging app also focuses on working closely with government and police, if needed. Also, it had shared a set of guidelines for law enforcement officials seeking reference from it.
On Carl Woog’s recent visit to India, i.e. the WhatsApp spokesperson, he specified on the company’s take on dealing with government requests for information of a particular user. He added that “We are a part of Facebook now and contribute to Facebook’s transparency report. In general, we work closely with governments whenever necessary, if there is a critical incident or when they (the government) reach out to us. But because of End-to-End (E2E) encryption enabled by default on WhatsApp, the contents of the messages are not visible to anybody except for the sender and recipient. I think what we have tried to talk to governments as to how we can respond to their requests. As we are a part of Facebook, the government requests do come in and we respond.”
In clear words, he has explained that unlike other messaging apps, all the government requests for content will be denied as the chats are E2E encrypted.
WhatsApp has officially confirmed that all other shortcuts to intercept encrypted WhatsApp chats are not available anymore. Of course, WhatsApp has never stored chats on its servers, even before introducing E2E encryption. Previously, only undelivered messages got saved on WhatsApp servers but would get automatically deleted after 30 days.
Other than this, WhatsApp provides information to the law enforcement agencies by giving them the obvious metadata like mobile numbers, device type, mobile network, mobile numbers of contacted people on WhatsApp, data on web pages visited through the app, time of chats, duration of chats, IP addresses, location, and contacts. So, while the actual WhatsApp chats are E2E secured, the above information can be derived by the police.
Facebook reportedly informs the user when their account is being probed, if not restricted by the government. But no such information has been confirmed for WhatsApp. Lastly, a global non-profit digital rights group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, rated WhatsApp on a much low score on tech organizations with pro-user public policy.