Message Encryption – A Facebook First

Privacy Win! Facebook has finished rolling out Secret Conversations for their Messenger apps on iOS and Android, creating the largest end-to-end encrypted messaging network in history. What does this mean for you? Encryption means that your conversations can’t be hacked into, whether it’s by criminals or the authorities. Secret Conversations are only accessible by you and the recipient, and only on registered devices. This is a huge leap from the days of Messenger past, when it was found that not only were your conversations not secure, but there was no way of truly deleting them either.

There’s only one issue. Secret Conversations are opt-in only, and not turned on by default. To start a Secret Conversation, update to the latest version of Messenger, create a new conversation with the icon in the upper right, then tap the Secret button in the upper right to start a Secret Conversation.

Facebook hasn’t been actively promoting this new feature, and it could be for a good reason. WhatsApp, another popular messaging app owned by Facebook that’s completely encrypted, saw backlash from the Brazilian authorities and even a Facebook executive arrested for his inability to decrypt messages sent by suspected drug traffickers. Privacy and encryption concerns have been of increasing importance in the past few years. Earlier this year Apple had a run in with the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s encrypted iPhone. The issue was resolved by a third party, so Apple was able to uphold its security and encryption policies.

October was the official Cyber Security month, but we here at the DHI advise you to stay in-the-know about the latest security happenings. For instance, Google has a free security-checkup to monitor the activity and permissions of your Google accounts. Check it out!

About William Enders

A sophomore Design and Technology major at Parsons School for Design, focusing on interactive media and video games.