WhatsApp may soon let you lock your chats away in a biometric vault

Whatsapp
(Image credit: rafapress via Shutterstock)

WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will let users lock and hide individual chats behind biometric security, such as your fingerprint. Since most modern phones have some kind of biometric security feature in place it’s likely the feature will be available to everyone.

According to a post on the WABetaInfo forum (and spotted by Wccftech) the new feature was found in version 2.23.8.2 of the app, an early build that is not currently available to everyone. It’s a positive change to see the company coming up with new features and updates that address consumer concerns rather than cosmetic changes.

WhatsApp is the default messaging app for a lot of people, so having that extra layer of privacy would definitely benefit a lot of people with sensitive jobs, or who just want some things to remain private. It may be a little controversial to some, as many would wonder who this is for and how giving people access to a feature like this is actually a benefit, but that’s a common thread of discourse that surrounds any privacy features rolled out on apps or hardware.

Privacy concerns

This is great for people who don’t want the government snooping through their messages (valid), but not so great for the governments themselves. WhatsApp has already stirred up a whole lot of trouble earlier in the year for defending the end-to-end encryption it offers users that make it so that only the sender and receiver can read the texts.  

When the head of Meta’s WhatsApp messaging service came to London earlier this year to discuss privacy issues with the UK government around privacy, he definitely stirred the pot, advocating for consumer privacy rather than government surveillance. So, suffice it to say if we do see an update that features additional privacy features, there will likely be pushback from some governments.

It’s hard to imagine we're having this conversation about a liberal democracy that might go around people's ability to communicate privately

Will Cathcart, WhatsApp messaging

As this is a feature spotted in an early beta version of Whatsapp, it’s not certain that it will end up coming to all users, so don’t get too excited. We’ll keep you posted if and when this new privacy feature does arrive in a full update.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).