Facebook’s message encryption is destined to fail

the details are shudder. A teenage girl and her mother were arrested after police raided a home and the remains of a fetus were exhumed from a rural cemetery.When police dragged a 17-year-old Nebraska girl and accused her and her mother of self-aborting with the damn file They can only be accessed through Meta’s incompetence and cooperation.

Intimate conversations between mother and daughter in the days of alleged abortion are just one of the millions recorded daily by Facebook, but it would be devastating for the family. After police obtained a search warrant for the girl’s Facebook data, they used information provided by the company to apply for a second warrant and raided her home. The search warrant application included quotes from the pair’s Messenger conversations, such as “Did we start today?” and “Yes, the first pill stops hormones…you’ll have to wait 24 hours 2 to take another.” Perhaps most damning, the closing line: “Remember we burned the evidence.”

A search warrant requires probable cause, specific evidence that law enforcement will be able to obtain additional evidence at the location being searched. In this case, the police could justify a search of the girl’s home, in part because of the records they received from Facebook.That second warrant Let them not only search the family’s home, but also collect any electronic devices, drugs and other records. Both mother and daughter now face criminal charges.

In this case, like many others, Facebook was an early target of the investigation. Trusted by billions of users around the world, this ubiquitous platform is the repository for countless fleeting and self-incriminating ideas. While users know that anything they post publicly on Facebook may be visible to the world, including law enforcement, Messenger creates a false sense of privacy. Currently, the vast majority of messages are unencrypted and can be seen by Meta employees and anyone with a valid power of attorney. This is by design – Facebook built its message encryption feature to fail.

after of Dobbs decision, Zuckerberg committed employees Meta will use encryption to “keep people safe”. But the reality is that it doesn’t do anything.Although the Nebraska investigation was Dobbs decided, afterroe Abortion regulation will only accelerate as the number of Meta mandates grows.

Currently, Messenger supports encryption, but only if users opt in. It’s not a simple one-time switch – it’s a pain in the ass for everyone you communicate with. Once you manage to opt-in to this “Secret Conversations” feature, Facebook will create a new message thread, which means you’ll destroy your message history and split each conversation or group into two. This is a huge mess.

Worse yet, opt-in to encrypted conversations Now Does nothing to protect messages from past months and years. Meta creates so many barriers that the vast majority of messages will be fully exposed. Even with encryption set up, it’s easy to accidentally revert to an unencrypted chat. Considering that Meta is built on dark mode and cleverly uses a highly engineered product to shape user behavior, it’s clear that the company doesn’t actually want user conversations to be encrypted.

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