Viber Bringing Powerful Encryption to 700M People

Viber-LogoCommunication app Viber is following in the footsteps of WhatsApp and making end-to-end encryption default for its 700 million user base. That means every text message, photo, and whatever else you can share on Viber will be protected. And because it is not an American company, it’s not subject to U.S laws.

End-to-end encryption means not even the Viber itself can see what’s passing between users once they update their software to Viber 6.0. Basically, the sooner users do that, the sooner their personal conversations are completely protected. This will take some time, as many people are either slow or hesitant to update their applications. However, even if only 10 percent of Viber users make the update, it will encrypt a group of users larger than the United Kingdom.

The decision for Viber and WhatsApp to encrypt their user-base comes after the Apple-FBI controversy over the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. The incident has sparked a debate amongst the tech community over which is more important in the digital age; privacy or security? Clearly WhatsApp and Viber have chosen the former.

In a Wired article, Viber’s COO Michael Shmilov says that the encryption is “not necessarily a marketing feature. We did it because it’s a standard we need to meet. Users share a lot of private data between them, and we want to make sure it’s secure.”

He argues that messaging apps are a central part of life now, and that users should have a fun experience with them without feeling like Big Brother is watching.