Facebook tests ‘end-to-end’ encryption in Messenger app

Technology editor Dan Howley describes how Meta will update its Facebook Messenger app amid privacy concerns.

video transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Welcome back. Facebook announces plans to add end-to-end encryption to its messaging chat service. Joining us with more information on these changes is Yahoo Finance Reporter Dan Howley. Dan.

DAN HOWLEY: That’s how it is. They will start implementing end-to-end encryption in their Messenger app by default for some users. Now currently, if there is end-to-end encryption, you have to enable it on your own. However, the default end-to-end encryption would mean that only you and the person you’re sending your message to will be able to see it.

Basically, it’s encrypted from your device, sent encrypted, and then only your device can decrypt it, or your account, rather. This is important, because if you are having conversations with friends, family or someone else with whom you need to have some kind of trust, then you can be safe in the knowledge that your messages cannot be read by third parties, and that Meta includes.

They won’t be able to see it at all. Now, they have end-to-end encryption in their app, WhatsApp. This is for Messenger in particular. And again, it will be implemented over time. So it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. It is also being tested.

So it does not mean that if you have it now you will continue to have it. But as people become increasingly aware of their privacy and security online, this is an important step forward. And it also comes in the context of a larger discussion when it comes to people’s privacy and abortion rights.

Obviously, we’ve seen reports of some people’s data being used against them in abortion cases. So when it comes to Messenger in particular, if you have a sensitive conversation like that, if you can encrypt it, that means no one, not even, like I said, Meta or even law enforcement can gain access. it.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Unlike other types of encrypted messaging services that I know people like to use, for example Signal, is it more or less strict than those other types of protocols?

DAN HOWLEY: Essentially, end-to-end encryption, end-to-end encryption, you know, it’s apples and apples. It really won’t be much different. If it’s actually end-to-end encrypted, fully encrypted, then it’s not going to be much different than any other service you might have, like Signal, like ProtonMail, stuff like that.

Basically, you can be sure that your data will not be visible when you send it. Whatever the content of that message is, no one will be able to read it at all. So it really is the safest way to send messages.

And as I said, this comes in the context of the abortion debate. And the idea of ​​encryption in technology has been a bit hairy in the past. Obviously, the Justice Department went after Apple because it encrypts users’ iPhones or makes sure that users can encrypt their iPhones when they install things like passwords.

So you have to imagine that law enforcement and other authorities would not appreciate seeing this movement. But as general users, consumers and people interested in privacy, this is certainly a welcome step.

BRIAN CHEUNG: All right, Dan Howley from Yahoo Finance, thanks so much for the breakdown.

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