Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr Presses Facebook on Encryption, Setting Up Clash Over Privacy

U.S. Attorney General William Barr apparently believes you should not have online privacy. He recently asked Facebook Inc. to delay plans to add encryption throughout its messaging services, citing public safety in a push to force the social-media giant to delay a major strategic shift outlined by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year. As a result, any messages you post on Facebook’s messaging services would be visible at least to Federal agencies. There was no indication in Barr’s request whether or not he wishes to also have state and local agencies be given access to your messages.

Undoubtedly, Facebook employees would also need access to all your messages in order to deliver those messages to the Feds. Of course, Facebook already has a rather poor reputation concerning sharing of your private information with other corporations, political parties, consultants, and anyone else willing to pay for your data. Once a “back door” is added to your messages, would that information also become available to other Facebook customers as well as to various hackers and foreign governments around the world? Could rogue Facebook employees access your messages and then share the information with others, even without Facebook’s knowledge? Facebook undoubtedly would say “No” but the company’s reputation will cause many users to wonder.

You can read more in the Wall Street Journal at https://www.wsj.com/articles/attorney-general-calls-on-facebook-to-limit-message-encryption-plans-11570130636.

Luckily, if Facebook does decide to eliminate encryption or to install “back doors” in its products to allow governments, corporate spies, hackers, identity thieves, and others to read your private messages, there is always a simple solution: stop using any product that is not encrypted or has “back doors” in its encryption and switch to any of the many products that do protect your privacy. Many of these products are developed and supported outside the U.S., in countries that value the privacy of all citizens. The U.S. and other governments cannot control or even influence these privacy-enabling products. Even better, quite a few of the private messaging products are available free of charge.

Reminder: Facebook’s current messaging software doesn’t use encryption in most cases. We can assume that various third parties already have access to your private messages. Mark Zuckerberg described FUTURE PLANS to add encryption. You might want to evaluate alternative products NOW.

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

1 reply

  1. YES! The age of Surveillance Capitalism is real. Time to cut it out!

    Like

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