Sunday, October 9, 2016
Facebook Messenger low key encryption to rejoice over?
Ever since governments have made it publicly clear that they will launch an assault on people's online privacy, anonymity, I.T. specialists have tried to create new ways of securing communications via this vast expanse called the World Wide Web.
Incidentally 'governments' had access to that information all along, just it wasn't all that 'legal'.
The new excuse for governments to justify monitoring your every move on the internet, your every electronic purchase and your every telephone interaction is an apparently new evil called 'terrorism'.
Maybe along the same line of thinking all roads and motor vehicles should be banned/controlled/limited from use by the general populous as 'terrorists' use those items as well.
Hang on a minute... Terrorists eat food! It might be a good idea to lace food with poison in order to kill terrorists. Oops it's already being done, with products from McDonald's, KFC, Burger King/Hungry Jacks Donut King, Krispy Kreme etc... Phew. Now we can sleep better.
From face value many data storage warehouse giants the likes of Microsoft, Google and Apple officially oppose government control/censorship/monitoring but behind the scenes operations are quite different.
Operating systems given to the masses from the US global I.T giants have deliberate backdoors so that government agencies can gain full access to the device of the user they are targeting.
Facebook a relative newcomer in the I.T. industry has become a global giant via its social media platform.
Since communication via the medium we call the internet is not secure, private nor anonymous Facebook has assured users that communication via its medium will be secure via low key roll-out of a new encryption layer.
"Viva la Facebook!!!" shout the (alleged) 'terrorists' followed by happy angry gunfire.
Should the wannabe terrorists now safely post their half baked 'terror' plots that look even worse than a Wile E Coyote stunt gone wrong against the infidels on Facebook?
One alleged 'terrorist' in Australia was going to stuff a kangaroo full of explosives. Seriously?
What the masses are not told is that any encryption technology emanating from uncle Sam, the 'keys' MUST be handed over to 'authorities'.
If you have put together a great encryption package, and live in the land of the free, if you are putting your product out into the market place, you MUST have over the 'key'.
If dragging you through the courts does not make you surrender the key, the destruction of you and your family is next on the government's agenda.
It might still be more private for il terrorista the use the good ol' fashioned method of carrier pigeon.
See article from 4 October 2016 by wired.com of the headline:
You Can All Finally Encrypt Facebook Messenger, So Do It
Last spring WhatsApp pushed out code adding a new layer of security to a billion users’ apps, creating the largest end-to-end encrypted messaging network in history. Now WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook has finally given people who use its other massively popular chat app the chance to catch up.
A Facebook spokesperson tells WIRED the company just finished rolling out “Secret Conversations” to all 900 million Facebook Messenger users in the past few weeks. The opt-in feature allows users to encrypt their messages so that no one can read them except the two people on either end of a conversation—not even Facebook or law enforcement or intelligence agencies. “Your messages are already secure, but Secret Conversations are encrypted from one device to another,” states a description in the app when users initiate their first encrypted conversation.
While the company’s software updates for iOS and Android haven’t explicitly mentioned the encryption feature, anyone who updates their Messenger app will now find the “secret” option on the top right of the “new message” screen. The feature also allows senders to choose a Snapchat-style expiration time for messages, ranging from five seconds to one day. Only users who have updated the app can send or receive encrypted, time-sensitive messages, so be sure to update now.
Secret Conversations uses the Signal encryption system, which has a glowing reputation in the security community. It was developed by the nonprofit Open Whisper Systems, which first implemented the encryption layer in its own Signal app before partnering with other companies to include the protocol. Facebook first announced the new security mechanism and tested it with beta users in July. Google’s recently launched Allo messenger also includes the encryption option.
Facebook Messenger’s new layer of encryption has to be enabled manually for every conversation, rather than being switched on by default, as it is in the Signal app or in WhatsApp. That decision may be in part a compromise designed to help Facebook avoid legal and political difficulties; WhatsApp’s default encryption, for instance, has already put its parent company in an uncomfortable spot at least once, when Brazilian authorities arrested a Facebook executive in the country for failing to help police decrypt WhatsApp messages sent by criminal suspects in a drug trafficking case. But the opt-in move has also drawn the scorn of privacy advocates, like this tweet from ACLU technologist Chris Soghoian when Facebook announced Secret Conversations:
Opt-in or not, Facebook’s new feature brings strong, dead-simple encryption to hundreds of millions more users. In combination with end-to-end encryption’s spread to other ultra-popular messaging services, foiling surveillance has never been easier.