Apple vs FBI: how its rivals, friends and frenemies are responding


As Apple's encryption battle with the US government rages on, a number of tech firms are reportedly looking to bolster their own user-security initiatives.

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, already encrypts messages between users, however it's planning on expanding encryption to voice calls "within weeks," according to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Facebook itself is said to be considering improving security for its own Messenger app, while Google is looking at end-to-end encrypted emails and its potential uses.

Snapchat is said to be looking at making its service more secure, however the details or the extent of what this means is still unclear. The report suggests other companies are also considering their own encryption initiatives for improvements as well.

An encryption showdown

Though all this remains in the realm of rumors, the increased attention to encryption isn't surprising in the face of the Apple vs FBI case, which has spurned a national debate over what tech companies argue is the government forcing Apple to weaken its security and threaten the privacy of users.

Many major tech firms have already filed a joint legal brief in support of Apple, including Google, Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Meanwhile, the government is attempting to gain closer ties with Silicon Valley with the creation of the new Defense Innovation Advisory Board, with Eric Schmidt, ex-Google CEO and current executive chairman of its parent company Alphabet, as the board's chairman.

Still, today's report comes at an interesting time for WhatsApp as it could be preparing for its own battle with the Department of Justice over encryption.

The DoJ is debating its next steps after a federal judge, as part of an investigation, approved a wiretap of WhatsApp, according to a report from The New York Times over the weekend, however investigators can't conduct one due to the app's current encryption methods.

No decision has been made, but it could lead to another very public battle over privacy and encryption between the government and Silicon Valley.