Pages

Meta’s Head of Security Is Pulled Left And Right As The Company Tries To Assuage Fears Regarding E2E Implementation Across All Its Social Media Platforms

Meta’s Global Head of Safety recently took to the internet, making a public statement in the interest of reassuring users about the company’s complete switch to end-to-end encryption.

Meta’s usage of end-to-end encryption has always been the company’s war cry. During the entire WhatsApp privacy policy debacle in early 2021, as users grew fearful of how their data would be used by Facebook, E2E was the paper shield behind which every complaint was hid against. “Of course there’s zero chance of us ever stealing your personal data”, cried execs under the constant criticism. “We’re end to end encrypted, haven’t you heard? That means literally no one can access your messages except the people that we send those messages to! We totally aren’t relying on your personal user data for targeted ads, and will definitely not be giving anything useful to Facebook, please believe us. End to end encryption, doesn’t that say it all?” Outside of this fictional monologue being much shorter than the endless litany of excuses that the social network drummed up during the entire fiasco, it’s accuracy might also be, well, incorrect. Or misleading, at the very least.

Allow me to elaborate further. During this very time, as WhatsApp was hemorrhaging its userbase, other platforms such as Telegram and Signal started to rise up slowly, promising avenues that would actually care about user data and privacy. They also gained a lot of followers in those days and, despite WhatsApp managing to more or less successfully move on from its policy debacle, are now proper contenders in the messaging social media platform marketplace. Which perhaps wasn’t the most filled out of niches in the first place, but hey, someone had to dethrone Viber, right? Moving on, Telegram and WhatsApp had an online spat during this time over Twitter where the former revealed that E2E didn’t necessarily mean what it said. Sure, messages would be encrypted but, as we all know, backups of all user messages are made. While those backups are made onto Google Drive, they’re not exclusively kept there either. WhatsApp has access to those as well, and thus, has complete, unadulterated access to our personal messages as well. Yikes.

There are other problems as well. With E2E, despite the actual platform Devs having access regardless, law enforcement agencies cannot. Typically, this is a good thing, but many organizations have touched on how this could potentially mean that the likes of groomers and child predators could run rampant on the platform, unless Meta proves more actively vigilant in its policing measures. Between you and me, I say in a publicly available article, I don’t think anyone trusts Meta with anything. Antigone Davis, Meta’s Head of Safety has tried to assuage all these fears and concerns, but I don’t think it’s possible to do any such thing. To build a backdoor into encryption for governments is admitting that E2E is a lie. To not build one is to actively tell governments that predators can do as they will on the platform. Ultimately, being the Head of Safety for Meta of all companies feels like a really unenviable position right now.

Photo: FB

Read next: 1 in 3 women working in the tech field say they experience gender bias at their workplace

No comments:

Post a Comment