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Whats App Beta Testing Bio-metric Vault for Private Chats

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Whats App is reportedly testing a new feature that allows users to lock their private chats with bio metric data or a pass-code, according to leaked screenshots shared on WABetaInfo. This feature is currently available in Whats App version 2.23.8.2, which is undergoing beta testing on Android. It is not yet clear when this feature will be rolled out to the public, but its existence indicates that it will be made available on the App Store version soon.

To use the feature, users will first be able to add a chat to a list of locked chats, which will then require them to enter their pass code or bio-metric data, such as a fingerprint, to access the messages inside it. If someone tries to open a locked chat without the necessary authentication, they will be given the option of having all the messages in it deleted to gain access. Any media sent within a locked chat will also not be automatically saved to the phone’s gallery, adding an extra layer of privacy.

This privacy-focused addition comes amid reports that the UK government may soon outlaw end-to-end encryption, which scrambles the content of messages to protect them from hackers, through the Online Safety Bill. This legislation could require tech companies to scan the contents of messages sent through their social platforms for illegal content. However, doing so would likely force them to weaken or do away with their own security measures.

Whats App’s head, Will Cathartic, has previously stated that he would rather the app be banned in the UK than remove end-to-end encryption. Cathartic argues that undermining the privacy of Whats App messages in the UK would do so for all its users worldwide, and that “there isn’t a way to change it in just one part of the world.”

The addition of the locked chats feature is a move towards giving users more control over their privacy and security on the app. As messaging apps become more prevalent in our daily lives, it is crucial that they offer features to protect users’ sensitive information.

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