Nothing in life is free. To much fanfare, WhatsApp had recently announced that starting November 12, backups to Google Drive would no longer count against their storage quota. But the messaging giant is also warning its users that the backed up content will not be encrypted.
This is not the first time that WhatsApp has stated that content stored in backups is not encrypted, but the messaging giant has added a specific mention of Google Drive in the help page regarding this issue, which now states that “Media and messages you back up aren’t protected by WhatsApp end-to-end encryption while in Google Drive”.
WhatsApp must have decided to issue this reminder considering to the sheer size and popularity of this 3rd party.
Google offers users 15GB of free storage on Drive. The deal between Google and WhatsApp means that backups made through Android devices will no longer eat away at the free space. The feature also means that Android users will no longer have to worry about having to transfer or lose media after losing or switching phones.
But the chat app protects every message with end-to-end encryption, meaning that only the sender and receiver of the message have the key that can decrypt the content. That end-to-end encryption will no longer apply to all backed up communications.
This means that those messages – including text, images, voice notes, and video – will travel unprotected to Google’s servers, meaning that they will be readable to malicious actors that might intercept the transferred data.