Facebook Begins Testing Encryption on Video and Audio Calls

While governments are pressuring Facebook to abandon encryption, it seems Facebook is moving ahead with even more encryption anyway.

Governments from around the world have been pressuring Facebook to abandon its effort to encrypt messages. These efforts are currently spearheaded by the US, UK, Australia and Germany with Germany being a more recent addition to the list. The UK, for its part, even went so far as to summon Nick Clegg for questioning at one point. At the centre of all of this is Facebooks effort to encrypt messages on its messenger services.

While Facebook now finds itself at the centre of a major privacy debate, one question is now front and centre: Will Facebook continue with its encryption plans or will they back down in the face of government pressure? It seems that, with the latest move, Facebook is doing the former. A sign of this is the fact that Facebook is moving ahead with encrypting even more services. According to The Next Web, Facebook is proceeding with plans to encrypt audio and video calls as well:

In March, Mark Zuckerberg shared his grand vision of Facebook’s future that included encrypting all messaging services. It seems that the company is slowly working on making that happen.

According to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook is testing encrypting video and audio calls over Messenger in Secret mode. However, this doesn’t mean your calls in normal mode will be encrypted.

While the article goes on to say that people tend to gravitate towards other apps for encrypted messaging services, it’s possible that this represents a political move more than anything else. Governments and spy agencies are demanding that Facebook back off encryption altogether. In response, Facebook is actively encrypting more of its services. It’s like the public underlying message is that they are thumbing their nose at government in an effort to protect users privacy. At least, this is the message we can get that Facebook is trying to send.

Whether or not that is enough to win privacy minded users over is still up in the air. As hard as it is to believe, it was only last September that Facebook faced controversy with the leaking of its users phone numbers. That is by far not the only privacy controversy they faced just in the last two years.

It’s hard to call the latest development a bad move. The idea of using Facebook for its privacy setting will no doubt cause some skeptics to be trepidatious given Facebook’s history. What might be more interesting to see is what the political reaction will be more than the actual adoption itself.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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