WhatsApp is introducing an additional layer of security to protect private or “intimate” conversations from being easily viewed when the app is open.

Chat Lock is a user privacy tool which will upgrade the current chat “archive” option on the popular messaging app. The user can opt to hide conversations from other active chats behind password or biometric authentication.

“Intimidate” chats can be protected from obvious viewing, with some arguing that the feature could an ulterior purpose to conceal affairs or secretive conversations.

Whatapp describes on its website what purposes Chat Lock may be useful for, for example to hide notifications when a “special chat” arrives while someone else is holding the phone.

By tapping a group or 1-2-1 contact’s name, users that may be prone to sharing their phone with family members of friends can easily archive these chats and receive discreet notifications that keep the sender anonymous.

WhatsApp is a highly secure end-to-end encryption platform which delivers total privacy to users, however such strong security is detrimental to retrieving messages used as part of criminal prosecutions. With the police forces encountering this issue too, upcoming legislation may weaken end-to-end encryption on the service, endangering WhatsApp’s future longevity if the bill is passed.