Multiple news outlets are reporting that Facebook / Meta is planning to delay the rollout of end-to-end encryption on the company’s messaging apps. The move comes as governments around the world continue to spread misinformation about encryption and push for surveillance backdoors.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future, who have led major online and offline protests in defense of strong encryption, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to the groups director, Evan Greer (she/her):
“Strong encryption makes kids more safe, not less safe. It’s shameful that Facebook and Instagram are caving to pressure from governments and law enforcement adjacent organizations who have spread misinformation about end-to-end encryption for years.
This delay will disproportionately harm vulnerable youth, particularly those from marginalized communities. Black and brown young people are already targeted by police for surveillance––fueling mass incarceration. Young people in prison are subjected to horrific human rights violations and abuse––something that anti-encryption campaigners never seem to mention. Encryption can also be a matter of life and death for LGBTQ youth who live in areas where their sexuality is criminalized or where being outed could put them at risk of bullying and violence.
Politicians and pundits often invoke the idea that we need to “think of the children,” when they oppose widespread adoption of encryption. But which children are they thinking of? We need a world where our children are safe, and also where they can grow up with basic human rights, democracy, and the ability to organize to make their world a better place. If governments succeed in bullying companies into rolling back encryption, it’s going to get people killed––particularly human rights activists fighting back against repressive regimes around the world. How are we helping children if we’re actively helping murderous dictators and tyrants known for human rights abuses?
Rolling out end-to-end encryption to Facebook and Instagram messenger is arguably one of the only good things that Meta has ever proposed doing. This delay will make the world less safe.”