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Meta announces delay in bringing end-to-end encryption to its messaging services

The privacy feature has raised concerns among child safety workers while governments continue to seek backdoors.

Meta (formerly Facebook) will push the enabling of end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms to 2023, the company's head of safety Antigone Davis announced in an op-ed for The Telegraph on November 20. Earlier, Facebook had said that it would finish adding the feature by 2022. Davis cited the safety of users, especially those that are underage, as the reason behind the delay. She also mentioned the needs of law enforcement agencies for data from companies like Meta. End-to-end encryption allows dissidents and activists to be secure but governments and law enforcement agencies across the world, including in India, have pushed for a backdoor in order to crack down on criminals. For instance: the traceability mandate in India's controversial IT Rules, 2021 that's currently being challenged by WhatsApp in court. What else did Davis reveal? In 2019, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that all of Facebook's messaging apps will have end-to-end encryption, like its messaging app WhatsApp; however, Davis's article indicates that the company is now trying to walk a tightrope between guruanteeing user privacy and complying with requests for data from law enforcement. "As we roll out end-to-end encryption we will use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users to keep them safe in a privacy-protected way while assisting public safety efforts," Davis said. Davis reiterated some measures taken by Meta for user safety through a three-pronged approach: Restricting accounts that engage in suspicious activity. Allowing people to filter their messages, especially restricting messages sent to…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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