Meta is delaying the product-wide rollout of end-to-end encryption until 2023


Meta has announced plans to postpone the global roll-out of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for its messaging applications until 2023.

The company previously said it won’t have E2EE on all of its products until 2022 at the earliest.

Meta said it would take additional time to make sure it was implemented correctly across Facebook Messenger and Instagram to protect privacy while mitigating the risk of online harm.

WhatsApp is currently the only app in Meta’s product portfolio that enables E2EE by default, although it has previously been criticized for allowing moderators to access the content of any message that has been flagged as potentially abusive by users.

“We’re taking the time to get this right, and we’re not planning on completing end-to-end encryption by default globally for all of our messaging services before 2023,” said Antigone Davis, Head of Safety at Meta, the Sunday telegraph.

“As a company that connects billions of people around the world and has developed industry-leading technology, we are committed to protecting people’s private communications and keeping people safe online,” she added.

E2EE has sparked an ongoing debate about the gap between privacy and personal safety. Meta said it would take time to implement E2EE in a way that supports both, but how this is done is unclear.

If E2EE is deployed in its proper form with unique on-device encryption, it should be impossible to allow third party communications to be monitored by third parties without violating basic principles.

“Encryption is an absolute must. You either have it or you don’t. There is no such thing as ‘right one’, “says Andy Yen, Founder and CEO of Proton. “The best way to protect privacy and user data is to avoid having the data in the first place.

“Of course we have to make sure that technology is not being misused, but there are many ways to combat criminal behavior,” he added. “Back doors and similar methods of undermining privacy are ineffective means of preventing crime. If Meta cared about user privacy as much as it claims, it would have implemented end-to-end encryption a long time ago. “

From a cybersecurity perspective, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said there was a strong case that E2EE provides protection for the everyday consumer and calls for its removal are welcomed by cyber criminals everywhere.

“There are many ways to fight crime. Saving all communication clearly is only one thing; the focus on E2EE is narrow and misleading, ”he said IT professional. “What is certain is that E2EE offers security against cyber criminals and hackers.

“The government’s campaign against security technologies is a gift to cyber criminals,” he added.

However, governments around the world are repeatedly calling for a proposed “back door” in E2EE-enabled messaging services.

The most important counter-arguments relate, for example, to the protection of children on the Internet and national security against terrorist events.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described Facebook’s encryption plans as “simply unacceptable” at a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) event earlier this year. Patel said technology companies have an obligation to protect children from online harm.

“Facebook is right not to do end-to-end encryption until it has a suitable plan to prevent child abuse from going undetected on its platforms,” ​​said Andy Burrows, director of online child safety policy at NSPCC. to the guard.

“But they should only take these measures if they can demonstrate that they have the technology to ensure children are not at greater risk of abuse,” he added.

At the same time as Meta’s new encryption deadline of 2023, the UK’s Online Security Act will be passed, forcing online platforms to implement protection for users, including children, from harm and improper content.

National legislation could stifle Meta’s ability to enable E2EE for its products, but to what extent the online security law will compromise consumer privacy through encrypted messages remains to be seen.

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