New Delhi: Facebook-owned popular chat app WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption for messages and media on its app. However, the platform has notified its users that the same does not apply to the data stored as a backup on Google's servers.
“Media and messages you back up aren't protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive,” WhatsApp said in an update on its website.
On August 16, WhatsApp had announced that it has signed a pact with Google to allow users to store messages on the company's cloud storage offering - drive, without any quota from November 12.
The WhatsApp user;s data stored on Google drive was counted within the 15 GB free space offered with a Google account. In 2017, Google had explained to users that data of the messaging app stored on Google drive is not encrypted.
However, the Indian government has questioned WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption and called on the chat app platform to offer traceability of messages sent on the app.
“As a WhatsApp user you have the choice to not backup your data to Google Drive,” said Sai Krishna Kothapalli, an independent security researcher. “They (WhatsApp) are not forcing you to backup. It is a feature. So, if you trust Google, you can enable it.”
"From a privacy perspective (completely discounting convenience) online backups are no good regardless of who the custodian is. While Google does encrypt files on the server side they also ultimately control the keys for those -- which can be provided to law enforcement authorities on the basis of a warrant," said Karan Saini, independent security researcher.