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Science And Nature

Meta testing stronger Facebook Messenger encryption after Nebraska abortion case

Facebook parent company Meta on Thursday announced that its testing a fresh feature whereby users can back up end-to-end encrypted chats in Facebook Messenger. Additionally, Meta launched a test of automatic end-to-end encrypted chat threads on Messenger and an expansion of other features.

Your message history is essential, and end-to-end encrypted Messenger conversations are stored on your own device, the Meta announcement explains. Knowing that, were testing secure storage to back up those messages in the event you lose your phone or desire to restore your message history on a fresh, supported device. Much like end-to-end encrypted chats, secure storage implies that we wont get access to your messages, if you don’t elect to report them to us.

Stronger Facebook Messenger encryption

The Meta announcement continues on to notice that secure storage would be the default method of protecting the annals of end-to-end encrypted conversations on Facebook Messenger. Moreover, users could have multiple choices for restoring messages should they want.

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SO ON sign, seen at Facebooks headquarters. Image source: Chris Tuite/imageSPACE/MEGA

There will, actually, be two end-to-end encrypted choices for users accessing their Facebook Messenger backups. They are able to either develop a PIN or generate a code. You may also elect to restore your Messenger conversations via third-party cloud services, Meta adds. For instance, for iOS devices you may use iCloud to store a secret key which allows usage of your backups. While this technique of protecting your key is secure, it isn’t protected by Messengers end-to-end encryption.

Nebraska abortion case

It will go without saying that announcement follows the backlash against Meta just days ago for turning over a teenagers private messages about her abortion to Nebraska police.

That action stemmed from the search warrant from police in the Nebraska abortion case. Police were investigating an example of a mother helping her daughter get an abortion, in circumstances where thats illegal. Moreover, if DMs and so on via Facebook Messanger were already end-to-end encrypted when Meta got that warrant? The business apparently wouldnt have already been able to adhere to it.

Nevertheless, news of the Nebraska investigation and Metas participation tripped a firestorm, following a Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of antitrust group Accountable Tech, told THE BRAND NEW York Post that the Nebraska case demonstrates Metas popular products are increasingly being converted into weapons that’ll be wielded against their very own users.

Meta, meanwhile, says a lot of the reporting for this case has been just plain wrong.

The companys response

We received valid legal warrants from local police on June 7, prior to the Supreme Courts decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization. The warrants didn’t mention abortion at all. Court papers indicate that police were in those days investigating the alleged illegal burning and burial of a stillborn infant. The warrants were associated with non-disclosure orders, which prevented us from sharing information regarding them.

Andy Meek profile photo

Andy Meek is really a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets like the Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and hes written for BGR since 2015. Andy’s coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he’s got a particular fascination with everything streaming. Through the years, hes interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range between Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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