Meta’s Messenger app will extend end-to-end encryption to individual chats starting this week, according to an official announcement from the company, however, this is a test that will only reach users selected for the test .
Despite this, the new feature is relevant to the safety of users and it is expected to be rolled out to more people in the near future, as the security features in the app have taken too long.
The first tests of end-to-end encryption tools began in Messenger in 2016, but only for “secret conversations.” In 2021, the feature was extended to voice and video call protection, while in January this year the feature for group chats was introduced.
Meta highlighted that the functionality will be executed automatically in the most frequent chats of the people selected for the test and not in all their conversations, as it happens in WhatsApp by default.
This feature is announced a few days after a 17-year-old girl and her mother were charged with a series of felonies and misdemeanors following an apparent medical abortion in Nebraska, USA.
The state based the case on the teenager’s private Facebook messages, obtained directly from the social network by court order, allegedly showing that the mother and daughter bought abortion-inducing drugs online and then disposed of the body of the teenager. fetus.
While court documents allege the abortion was before the Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, this is an example of how abortion will be prosecuted in the United States, as well as how tech companies will need to collaborate. in investigations.
Had the end-to-end encryption feature been active before this case happened, not even the company would have been able to turn the conversation over to the authorities.
More security features in Messenger
On the other hand, Meta highlighted that new security features will also be integrated, such as the “secure storage” option for encrypted conversations on both iOS and Android. With this, users will have the ability to create cloud backups in iCloud or Google Drive and protect them with a secret code.
This is a feature that comes from WhatsApp, where it began to be used last year and also represents a way to protect people’s information from the authorities.
On the other hand, Meta pointed out that they will also expand the encryption functions in Instagram chats to more people in more countries, since last year they started a test reduced to a few users and although it was extended in February it was with the objective of protecting to people in Ukraine and Russia.