Recently, Apple and the FBI had a confrontation over the future of privacy, when the FBI tried to secure a court order to force Apple to compromise security features on the iPhone. Apple won, but it left other tech companies wondering if they might be next. So they’re trying to get ahead of the game. Facebook, for instance, is encrypting all your messages.
End-to-end encryption is fairly simple; when you log on, you generate a unique digital key, and when you contact somebody, you share keys. But only the two of you can read the message, as nobody else has the keys. It makes it impossible for anybody, even Facebook, to read your messages without your password. There is a “catch,” though, which will make you want to turn it on immediately:
Yet Facebook plans to make the tougher encryption an opt-in, because turning it on would get in the way of some new machine learning features it is building into Messenger, sources said.
In other words, if you turn this on, it means Facebook won’t be able to read your private messages and build a more detailed database about you. It’ll just have to settle for all the other personal data it harvests from what you post online, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. Oh darn. What a drawback.
Joking aside, it should say something that Facebook, which is a digital dictatorship so complete it can’t even pretend to be a semblance of a democracy, is willing to do something that denies them user data. Facebook thrives on how much information it collects about you. That it’s more concerned about the FBI digging through your digital sock drawer than it is about knowing everything you say and do indicates either that it doesn’t like competition or that even the private equivalent of Big Brother is worried the FBI might go too far.
(via The Guardian)