WhatsApp lets users hide 'intimate' chats behind extra security

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new feature which hides “intimate” or private conversations behind an additional layer of security.

‘Chat Lock’ takes the private conversation out of the platform's inbox and puts it in a separate folder which can only be accessed with device passwords or biometrics, including fingerprints or facial recognition.

The new feature also automatically hides the contents of the private chat in notifications.

Users can lock a chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group conversation and selecting the lock option.

The messaging app said that it plans to add more options for Chat Lock over the next few months, including locking for companion devices and creating a custom password for chats so that users can select a unique password different from the one used to unlock phones.

WhatsApp recently published an open letter warning that the UK government’s upcoming Online Safety Bill could lead to tech firms being forced to "break end-to-end encryption" on private messaging apps.

The letter, co-signed by executives at WhatsApp, Signal, Element, Wire, Viber, Threema, and OPTF/Session, hits back at the much-anticipated legislation, claiming the law could lead to “indiscriminate surveillance” of personal messages friends, employees, executives, journalists, human rights activists, and politicians.

WhatsApp is concerned that the Bill does not deliver any explicit protection for encryption and could allow Ofcom to force the “proactive scanning of private messages on end-to-end encrypted communication services".

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