Meta, the company behind Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, has announced significant security enhancements to its Messenger direct messaging service. In the future all personal calls and messages will be end-to-end encrypted by default. Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer, a long-time opponent of blanket chat control scanning of all private messages, comments:
“Zuckerberg’s move is a success also of my lawsuit against Meta’s voluntary chat control mass surveillance: with the gradual introduction of secure end-to-end encryption to direct messaging, Facebook and Instagram are ending their voluntary, error-prone searches in the content of our private messages and begin respecting the confidentiality of our communications.
Voluntary mass surveillance of our private communications makes no significant contribution to saving abused children or to convicting abusers, but criminalises thousands of minors, overburdens law enforcement and opens the door to arbitrary private justice by big tech industry. Voluntary chat control could never contain the amount of suspected CSAM on Zuckerberg’s platforms. Relieving the police of the flood of largely false reports frees up law enforcement capacity for targeted and undercover investigations into organised child sexual abuse, thereby really protecting children. Even without chat control mass surveillance, user reports and reports resulting of the automated scanning of public posts on Facebook and Instagram will continue to be made.
Regrettably, Zuckerberg‘s Meta continues general monitoring of users by deploying unreliable metadata analysis algorithms. We Pirates managed to force the company by way of the EU‘s Digital Markets Act to allow for cross-platform interoperability with alternative, more secure and privacy-friendly messengers in future. We will thus be able to switch to better messaging services while maintaining our contacts on Instagram and Facebook.
Without any mass surveillance, Meta could make Facebook and Instagram secure by design for children if Zuckerberg was willing to compromise on profits. Why, for example, are young people not asked, regardless of their age, if they want their photos and profiles to be publicly visible to strangers?”