Starting from this week WhatsApp will add encrypted video calling, that’s what Jan Koum said according to a Reuters report. This new service will further improve users’ privacy, and comes just after all the criticism addressed to WhatsApp because of the recent decision to share its users data with Facebook.
WhasApp, founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, was bought by Facebook in 2014. So far the two services have led an activity quite independent, at least until August, when WhatsApp updated its terms and conditions and decided to adopt a data sharing plan with Facebook.
Complaints arrived from users and governments, but the Facebook-owned company has reiterated in more than one occasion that nothing is changed, and that the company is still committed to users privacy. And the recent decision to add encrypted video calling seems to confirm WhatsApp statements. Jan Koum, co-founder of the instant messaging service, during a recent interview stated that video calls will be rolled out to 180 countries, saying that “We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want,”.
On the matter Koum also added that “We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.” The decision to add encrypted video calling seems to be a natural consequence of the addition of end-to-end encryption to messages and chats, option that was introduced early this year, and is supported by general privacy concerns under the Trump administration.
The new American President, supported by FBI Director James Comey and by some leading congressional Republicans, thinks that tech companies should release their customer information under some circumstances. If this idea will be formally put into law, many services such as WhatsApp may be forced to completely change the design of their services. This scenario seems not to worry Jan Koum, who, on the contrary, stays optimistic, since he is convinced that “It would be like them shooting themselves in the foot.”
But WhatsApp is not the only service offering end-to-end encrypted video calls, since in August Google launched Duo, a new app that offers its users encrypted video calling.