According to Facebook programmer Jon Millican, users should not expect standard end-to-end encryption with Facebook Messenger in the coming years. Mark Zuckerberg promised that a year ago, but he did not mention a timeline.
The Facebook developer made the statements at the Real World Crypto Conference in New York. “We announced the plan years before we could deliver it,” he said in an interview with Wired at the fair. He did not want to say when Facebook expects the project to be finished. Wired writes that .
Facebook Messenger already has the option of end-to-end encryption, but this is now an opt-in: users must indicate that they want more privacy, after which a Secret Conversation is set up. It is encrypted, but not normal chat conversations.
Despite the presence of the Secret Chats, according to Millican it is still a big challenge to make e2e crypto standard. “We currently have more questions than answers,” he said during his presentation. “Adding E2e encryption to an existing system is incredibly challenging and everything has to be done again”. His presentation therefore mainly identified more challenges than solutions, says Wired.
Millican states that the encryption of WhatsApp is an unfortunate example: not only would that have taken years, but WhatsApp was a much simpler product at the time of that change than Messenger is today. Nevertheless, not everyone is convinced of Facebook’s argumentation: a cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University, who also helped with the introduction of Secret Conversations, believes that Facebook apparently did not put enough of its largest supply of resources on it if it was to last for years .
Mark Zuckerberg made the promise of e2e encryption in March of last year. It is part of the battle to become more privacy-friendly after the start of the Cambridge Analyitca scandal.