Meta Adding End-To-End Encryption To Messenger Despite Government Pressure

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Meta announced the decision to include end-to-end encryption for the Facebook and Messenger apps. However, multiple government agencies are pushing back against the decision.

End-to-end encryption is a way of preventing third parties from seeing your messages. Specifically, when you send a message it becomes encrypted and then decrypted after it reaches the recipient’s inbox.

This means your data remains unreadable even if it’s intercepted or scraped by any third party, like a hacker, the parent company Meta, or even a government agency. It makes the messages shared between users completely private.

Similar messaging services, like Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal, provide end-to-end encryption services that prioritize customer privacy. They’ve also faced similar government pressure in the past. While Meta has historically been known for its lack of consumer-friendly privacy laws, many argue that private encryption is a step in the right direction.

However, it’s worth understanding the opposition’s point of view, as end-to-end encryption carries potential risks as well.

Government agencies within the Five Eyes alliance argue that it impedes law enforcement agencies’ ability to find crime evidence. This makes it easier for drug traffickers, pedophiles, and organized criminals to get away with online activities.

“When E2EE is default, we will also use a variety of tools, including artificial intelligence, subject to applicable law, to proactively detect accounts engaged in malicious patterns of behavior instead of scanning private messages,” Meta replied to the criticisms.

Provided Meta’s security systems are adequate for the job, this means that threat actors will still be detected while the average user is free to enjoy complete privacy while messaging friends, family, or business associates.

As of now, E2EE is still completely opt-in for Messenger. If you prefer traditional messaging, you don’t have to use it.

“We worked closely with outside experts, academics, advocates, and governments to identify risks and build mitigations to ensure that privacy and safety go hand-in-hand,” says Meta’s Head of Messenger,  Loredana Crisan, in a blog post.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."

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