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U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger

20 Comments
By an Levine and Joseph Menn

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© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

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Police state society.

East Germany used to pay snoops to listen in on conversations in local bars.

The US government just taps all electronic communications.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Was wrong under previous presidents and still wrong now. Still wrong under DT.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The government is not going to stop unless there is a huge backlash. One that Facebook will likely get caught up in. People deserve their privacy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Facebook will cave. Zuckerberg could care-a-less about his community. He wants to be in bed with US. and Chinese officials, only to capitalize on his fortunes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

All they want now is the mandate to do what they are/have been doing already

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Facebook, the most trusted name in computer security.

NOT!

People trade security for convenience all the time. Sometimes that is the better choice, but not usually.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah,well, I honestly thought that the interested agencies already have the access to FB messages. This step will just make it more widely known and make such encroaches to privacy legal.

I mean not long ago same was happening with Telegram in Russia, now its happening with Messenger only coz both are encrypted. But the governments have been rummaging in all social media that has lower security levels for years.

This was the recent government idea aimed at everyone applying for the US visa:

'The government’s latest bright idea is to ask basically everyone who wants to enter America for five years’ worth of their social media history.'

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/31/us-visa-social-media-tourism

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah,well, I honestly thought that the interested agencies already have the access to FB messages.

Nope. Facebook uses end-to-end encryption for messages, meaning it's encrypted on your device, and decrypted on the recipient's device, with only those devices holding the decryption key. This means that while your messages can be intercepted in between, they cannot be decrypted since no one in-between will have the decryption key.

Governments hate this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The police need to find another way of doing what they need to do.

If the U.S government wants to do something useful regarding Facebook etc, they should be looking at the impact of their recent actions on the first amendment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This means that while your messages can be intercepted in between, they cannot be decrypted since no one in-between will have the decryption key.

Do Whats App and Line also use this tech? I use all three to control my vast criminal empire, would be useful to know.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Do Whats App and Line also use this tech?

Yes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Facebook uses end-to-end encryption for messages, meaning it's encrypted on your device, and decrypted on the recipient's device, with only those devices holding the decryption key.

But only for voice calls, according to the article. Text messages are decrypted en route. Which makes me wonder about Facebook's position on this. It seems their argument is only about the practical difficulties of intercepting voice messages and not based on any principle of privacy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But only for voice calls, according to the article.

It doesn't say it's only for voice calls in the article. That said, I just did some googling, and it appears that end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default on FB messenger, so you'll have to enable it manually: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/secret-conversation-how-to-enable-messengers-end-to-end-encryption/

Note that both Line and Whatsapp use end to end encryption by default.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Strangerland, I perhaps misunderstood the reference to "Ordinary Facebook text messages" as Messenger text messages. I'm not familiar with Messenger of Facebook. Thanks for the link.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WhatsApp is part of Facebook and shares your info with them:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-stop-whatsapp-from-sharing-your-information-with-facebook/

I don't trust any of them. Even old faithful BlackBerry BBM is no longer sure now it's been sold off and using the unspeakable Android OS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland, I perhaps misunderstood the reference to "Ordinary Facebook text messages" as Messenger text messages. I'm not familiar with Messenger of Facebook. Thanks for the link.

I don't use Facebook Messenger myself, the app is too invasive and requires too much access to your phone.

But yeah, regular facebook posts are not encrypted. They couldn't be as they are meant to be accessed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First Russia with Telegram, now the US with Facebook

Police state society indeed

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Be careful believing all the marketing claims for these centralized apps if your life might depend on the encryption. Many have tiny flaws which can be exploited.

Telegram is probably the most trustworthy of the widely used apps. Rather than give up their keys, they've left Russia. All of these apps are huge targets for multiple govts trying to break. It probably won't be an attack directly against the encryption, but some other tiny flaw.

If my life depended on the contents of any message being secure, I'd stick with manually packaged gpg files.

For a small group of trusted people, I'd look to retroshare and I'd ask that nobody use Android or any tablet/smartphone or Windows machine for the connection to our network. Retroshare is based on gpg for all modes of data transfer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland

Nope. Facebook uses end-to-end encryption for messages, meaning it's encrypted on your device, and decrypted on the recipient's device, with only those devices holding the decryption key. This means that while your messages can be intercepted in between, they cannot be decrypted since no one in-between will have the decryption key.

Governments hate this.

Thanks, but I kinda know what encryption is.

Thing is, the end-to-end encryption on messenger was rolled out only in 2016.

Meaning, all the time before that it was quite easy to get access to people's private messages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thing is, the end-to-end encryption on messenger was rolled out only in 2016.

Meaning, all the time before that it was quite easy to get access to people's private messages.

But you didn't say anything about 2016, or some period of time in the past, you phrased your comment in the current tense:

I honestly thought that the interested agencies already have the access to FB messages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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