In the WhatsApp messenger, you can now send photo or video messages, which will disappear after one viewing. The British Child Welfare Society says that this opportunity will make it easier for those who commit crimes against children to hide their tracks.
WhatsApp says the disappearing messages should help users protect their data. After one viewing, the photos or videos are deleted from the chat and are not saved in any of the telephones participating in the correspondence.
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However, human rights activists working with children say this new opportunity will make it easier to cover up the traces of sex crimes against minors.
WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption prevents third parties from viewing the content of messages as they are in transit. Only the sender and receiver can do this.
However, the phones, which the police seize during the raids, still keep the illegal pictures, which makes it possible to bring charges against the criminals. Now it will be more difficult to do this, say the British National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
“This single-view mechanism could put children in even greater danger. Criminals will have a tool to help them avoid police attention and get rid of evidence. – says the employee of the organization Alisson Trew.
WhatsApp doesn't talk about it. The company recommends using disposable photos, for example, in a fitting room to ask a friend what the shirt looks like on you.
Restrictions on deleting pictures
The disappearing message mechanism is also used in other popular messengers such as Snapchat.
WhatsApp first introduced the feature back in November, and legal questions arose back then. The app will not prevent you from taking screenshots of disappearing messages. But it has a number of limitations.
- Photos will not be saved to the phone gallery.
- The message cannot be marked with an asterisk, saved or forwarded.
- If not opened, it will be deleted after two weeks.
Under British law, information pertaining to “meaningful discussions or decisions” must be kept on record. WhatsApp is used by many members of the government, as well as another similar messenger, Signal.
The administration of the government has already announced that the appropriate rules have been adopted so that all communications between cabinet members are preserved in accordance with the law.