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Facebook will Begin Testing End-to-End Encryption as Default on Messenger App

On Thursday, Facebook said that it will start experimenting with making end-to-end encryption the default setting for select Messenger users on Android and iOS. The change occurs at the same time as the firm is under fire for giving communications to a Nebraska police department that helped the department file charges against an adolescent and her mother for allegedly performing an illegal abortion. Users of Facebook Messenger must presently choose to encrypt their communications end-to-end, which supposedly limits access to a message’s contents to the sender and receiver.

Facebook communications were already encrypted by default in June, so when Nebraska police requested a search order for the mother under investigation’s Facebook user data, Facebook would not have had any messages to provide over to authorities. Furthermore, according to Dziedzan, the action was “not in reaction to any law enforcement inquiries.” The parent corporation of Facebook, Meta, said that the test’s implementation had been long-planned.

The business originally intended to make E2E encryption the default in 2022, but it has now postponed the deadline to 2023. A Norfolk police department investigator reportedly sought Facebook for the mother’s “profile contact information, wall postings, and friend listing, with Facebook IDs” in June, according to an affidavit in support of the search warrant in the Nebraska case. Additionally, all of her pictures and private chats from April up until the day the order was obtained were sought by authorities.

According to Evan Greer, the head of the digital rights organisation Fight for the Future, “businesses like Facebook can only truly safeguard individuals by making sure that they do not have access to user data or conversations when a law enforcement agency comes knocking.” Extending end-to-end encryption by default is a part of that, but businesses like Facebook also need to stop gathering and keeping so much personal data on us in the first place, according to the report.

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