Facebook tests end-to-end
encryption on Messenger
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[July 09, 2016]
(Reuters) - Facebook Inc <FB.O> on
Friday said it began testing end-to-end encryption on its popular
Messenger application to prevent snooping on digital conversations.
The limited testing on Messenger, which has more than 900 million users,
comes three months after Facebook rolled out end-to-end encryption to
its more popular WhatsApp, a messaging application with over 1 billion
users that it acquired in October 2014.
The move comes amid widespread global debate over the extent to which
technology companies should help law enforcement snoop on digital
End-to-end encryption is also offered on Apple Inc's <AAPL.O> iMessage
platform as well as apps including LINE, Signal, Viber, Telegram and
Facebook Messenger uses the same encryption technology as WhatsApp,
which uses a protocol known as Signal that was developed by privately
held Open Whisper Systems.
"It seems well designed," said Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins University
cryptologist who helped review an early version of the protocol for
While WhatsApp messages are encrypted by default, Facebook Messenger
users must turn on the feature to get the extra additional security
protection, which scrambles communications so they can only be read on
devices at either end of a conversation.
Facebook said that it was requiring users to opt in to encryption
because the extra security is not compatible with some widely used
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A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this
illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015.
"Many people want Messenger to work when you switch between devices,
such as a tablet, desktop computer or phone," the company said in an
announcement on its website. "Secret conversations can only be read on
one device and we recognize that experience may not be right for
Facebook also said that Messenger users cannot send videos or make payments in
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU, called on Facebook to
commit to rolling out encryption by default once it irons out any bugs in the
"Encryption is best when it is hidden, invisible to the user and turned on by
default," said Soghoian.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by
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