Technology

Facebook makes calls confidential on Messenger

(Photo: 123RF)

Facebook announced Friday the addition of an option to encrypt audio and video calls on Messenger, in the midst of a debate on the border between the right to confidentiality and the imperatives of public security, notably linked to pedophilia.

Users of the social network giant’s messaging system will now be able to choose end-to-end encryption – from one device to another – for their telephone exchanges. “This means that no one, not even Facebook, can see or listen to what is sent or said,” the California group said in a statement.

This was already the case on WhatsApp, the messaging system acquired by Facebook, as well as other popular applications like Apple’s Zoom, Signal, or FaceTime.

But many governments reject this extra layer of security, in the name of the fight against pedophilia or terrorism. They would like the platforms to integrate “back doors” into their software, so that the justice system in their country can recover messages and photos essential to criminal investigations.

Apple has just made concessions in this direction, to the general surprise of the technology sector, because the iPhone manufacturer has built a reputation as a paragon of privacy.

Last week, the group unveiled new tools designed to better spot sexual images involving children, on its iCloud server and on iMessage messaging for children’s accounts linked to a family subscription.

This decision sparked an uproar.

“Apple is replacing its end-to-end encrypted messaging system with a surveillance and censorship infrastructure, which will be vulnerable to abuse and abuse not only in the United States, but around the world,” said Greg Nojeim, for example, of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), in a message sent to AFP.

“It is clear that there has been a lot of confusion around our messages,” said Craig Federighi, director of software at Apple, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday.

He ensured that the new algorithms did not make the system less secure or confidential.

Unlike other cloud services (remote computing), he explained, Apple “wanted to be able to locate photos (of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) in the cloud, without having to look at people’s photos.”

Facebook regularly tries to challenge its neighbor in Silicon Valley on the grounds of confidentiality, the social network needing to regain the trust of civil society after several data breach scandals.

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