Should Facebook encrypt its messages?

In order to become more “privacy-focused,” Facebook plans to begin end-to-end encryption on Messenger (it’s already being done on WhatsApp). This kind of encryption would make the content of messages inaccessible to third parties, including law enforcement and Facebook itself.

In response to this, and in an effort to stop Facebook from using encryption, the EARN IT Act was drafted in Congress. EARN IT would allow civil suits against social media companies that carelessly distribute child pornography by taking away the platform’s immunity from liability that was established decades ago by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

Encrypt, and you’re opening yourself up to lawsuit, legislators effectively said.

what is end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption excludes third parties from accessing content shared between users.

With end-to-end encryption, when a sender communicates with a receiver, the two share a unique algorithmic key that decodes the message. No one else can access the key. It’s completely secure.

Facebook should allow encryption.

Messages sent on Facebook will be private. After Facebook has been found selling information about its users, the step toward privacy should be welcome.

Facebook marketplace will be safer

Using Marketplace can result in personal information being revealed online, including where you live and how you pay for items.

oppressive regimes will be kept in the dark

People living under the rule of oppressive leaders in totalitarian states can have greater freedom to communicate without fear of being monitored.

social privacy

Facebook messages with sensitive content, like sexual orientation, medical conditions or political beliefs, will be protected.

benefit to Facebook

Facebook is increasingly being pressured to monitor its content, most recently by Australia, the UK, the EU and New Zealand. With encryption, however, Facebook can’t monitor its content, and may escape the liability that these countries would like to impose on it.

Facebook should not encrypt.

A reduced capacity for surveillance will enable the worst kind of online human activity.

pedophiles

Tech companies flagged 45 million photos and videos as child sex abuse material last year.

It will be much harder to detect pedophiles’ purchasing and selling of sexual abuse material online. With a skyrocketing rate of online abuse for children, this should be a priority, regardless of benefits to personal privacy that could come from encryption.

terrorists

Criminals will have an opportunity to organize without detection.

Recently, the shootings at Christchurch mosque in New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed and 49 injured,  the gunman uploaded information that foretold the shooting to an encrypted cloud storage site before going on his shooting rampage. Do we really need terrorists to have more access to encryption?

Be the first to comment

Let's Talk