The US government is still trying to break the encryption on the San Bernadino iPhone. But now a report by The Guardian suggests that Google, WhatsApp and Facebook are all planning to strengthen their encryption services. The report claims that Whatsapp is about to roll out encryption for its voice calls, Google is investigating “extra uses” for encryption in secure email and Facebook wants to boost the protection of its Messenger service. Meanwhile it also suggests that Apple wants to “make it technically harder still for investigators to force the company to hand over data from customers’ iPhones”.
It’s worth noting a line buried a few paragraphs into the article, which explains that “[t]hese new projects began before Apple entered a court battle with the Department of Justice”. So if they are happening they’re not in response to Apple’s legal wrangling. But the news does come at a moment in time when government agencies will likely take a dim view of tech companies beefing up their encryption standards.