Why That WhatsApp Encryption Message Doesn't Quite Mean What You Think It Does

How secure are your messages really?

If you've used Whatsapp in the past few days you have probably noticed a yellow message saying something about 'encryption'.

It is designed to reassure users that the company has upped its security measures, meaning - in theory at least - no hackers or snoopy government officials can see you remind you flatmate about that council tax bill they haven't paid or read your string of increasingly desperate Friday night booty call requests.

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A closer look at WhatsApp's privacy information, however, reveals that some of your private details will be retained and potentially accessed.

A recent Independent article pointed out a key passage that says: "WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information associated with successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved in the messages, as well as any other information which WhatsApp is legally compelled to collect,"

What could Whatsapp, Anonymous or Scotland Yard do with this information? Not a great deal, besides piece together basic information about your phone usage.

More likely it will be used to help Whatsapp develop its user profiling and at some point monetise their service.

Remember, nothing is really free, especially on the internet.