MESSENGER on Thursday started rolling out encrypted calls and group chats in Messenger to everyone.
The controversial move means that users across the globe can now choose to obfuscate their communications to shield them from prying eyes.
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, says the rollout enhances privacy for 1.3 billion Messenger users.
“With cybercrime and hacking on the rise, it’s more important than ever to find great ways to connect with friends and family through private and secure communications.”
It comes as the sanctity of smartphone data becomes increasingly a sensitive topic.
Encrypting text chats on Messenger has been an option since 2016 – but it’s not yet available for voice or video calls.
The number of such calls made on Messenger has since grown to more than 150 million per day.
The increase prompted Facebook to add the option to shuffle exchanges from one end to the other to prevent tracking.
How to encrypt chats and calls on Messenger
There are two ways that Messenger users can opt-in to secure chats.
One is by communicating in “disappear mode”, which launches in 2020 and allows you to send messages that automatically disappear.
To enter disappearing mode, swipe up on an existing chat to enter a new one, where anything sent will disappear when you close the window.
The second method is through Secret Conversations, launched in 2016.
You can enable this feature by toggling the padlock icon at the top right of the screen when you start a new individual or group chat.
What is end-to-end encryption?
End-to-end encryption is already widely used by apps including Facebook-owned WhatsApp and is becoming an industry standard.
Messenger began testing the extra layer of security last summer and on Thursday began rolling it out to all users.
“The content of your messages and calls in an end-to-end encrypted chat is protected from the moment it leaves your device until it reaches the recipient’s device,” said Ruth Kricheli, manager Messenger’s product manager said in a blog post last year. .
“This means that no one else, not even Facebook, can see or hear what is being sent or said.”
Facebook has said that it is also testing encrypted messages on Instagram.
It plans to make end-to-end encryption the default on Instagram and Messenger, though that’s unlikely until next year.
Encrypted messaging is already the default on Meta-owned WhatsApp as well as the Signal and Telegram chat apps.
Data privacy concerns
Apple’s recent announcement that it will examine iCloud photos for evidence of child sexual abuse has sparked debate about online privacy.
Some have raised concerns that the same technology could be used for government surveillance – something Apple denies.
Apple argued in a technical paper that the technology developed by cryptographic experts “is secure and is explicitly designed to protect user privacy”.
However, encryption and privacy experts warn the tool could be exploited for other purposes, potentially opening the door to mass surveillance.
Apple’s move comes after years of stalemate involving tech companies and law enforcement.
FBI officials have warned that so-called “end-to-end encryption,” where only the user and recipient can read messages, could protect criminals, terrorists and those distributing abusive material. child sex.
This case happened even when the authorities had an investigation order.
According to a recent report published by the NSPCC, end-to-end encryption risks prioritize adult privacy over child safety.
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In other news, nine apps had to removed from Google Play Store after they are caught stealing Facebook password.
Facebook is facing backlash in the US about plans to create a version of Instagram for kids under 13.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8276771/facebook-encrypts-messenger-police-child-abuse-charities-2/ Facebook Messenger fans urged to change settings NOW to protect themselves from snoopers