In college, I took a debate class that prompted me and my opponent to tackle internet security. My assertion was that the government should be able to look at our information if it helps further security, her stance was that it is an invasion of privacy.
While this was an assignment, the research really got me thinking about what people may be able to see of mine through simple internet hacks that I’m not privy to. It seems as though every week there’s a news story regarding the last “insert app or website here” hack.
And, being that we live in a digital world, we want to feel safe when communicating online. Especially when information including credit cards, address, social security numbers, etc. are being (supposedly privately) shared.
As a result, websites and apps that have a communication component have been trying to amplify safety to protect their users and their brand. The latest company to roll out a safety attempt is Facebook.
The social media powerhouse has developed a new encryption for their Messenger app. This encryption makes information only accessible to the two people having a conversation, and does not allow the eyes of Facebook, the government, or other third parties to have access.
This new implementation is called “Secret Conversations” and has been made available to the 900 million messenger users. The feature comes with an opt-in component.
Facebook asserts that their messages are already secure, but this new element encrypts messages from one device to the other. This is based on the terms and agreements that pop up when users start their first encrypted conversation.
Facebook Messenger users who have the latest update of the app will find the feature marked “secret” on the top right of the new message screen.
This encryption has to be enabled manually for each individual conversation.
Worth a shot
Secret Conversations has been developed through use of the Signal encryption system. The messages will disappear at some point in the interest of privacy.
While it has received some flack from privacy advocates, much like anything and everything else, it should be beneficial for the privacy of Facebook users. And, they aren’t forced to use the feature.