'Forbes contributor Kalev Leetaru argues that "the encryption debate
is already over -- Facebook ended it earlier this year."
The ability of encryption to shield a user's communications rests upon
the assumption that the sender and recipient's devices are themselves
secure, with the encrypted channel the only weak point... [But]
Facebook announced earlier this year preliminary results from its
efforts to move a global mass surveillance infrastructure directly
onto users' devices where it can bypass the protections of end-to-end
encryption. In Facebook's vision, the actual end-to-end encryption
client itself such as WhatsApp will include embedded content
moderation and blacklist filtering algorithms. These algorithms will
be continually updated from a central cloud service, but will run
locally on the user's device, scanning each cleartext message before
it is sent and each encrypted message after it is decrypted. The
company even noted that when it detects violations it will need to
quietly stream a copy of the formerly encrypted content back to its
central servers to analyze further, even if the user objects, acting
as true wiretapping service...
If Facebook's model succeeds, it will only be a matter of time before
device manufacturers and mobile operating system developers embed
similar tools directly into devices themselves, making them impossible
to escape... Governments would soon use lawful court orders to require
companies to build in custom filters of content they are concerned
about and automatically notify them of violations, including sending a
copy of the offending content. Rather than grappling with how to
defeat encryption, governments will simply be able to harness social
media companies to perform their mass surveillance for them, sending
them real-time alerts and copies of the decrypted content.
Putting this all together, the sad reality of the encryption debate is
that after 30 years it is finally over: dead at the hands of Facebook.
If the company's new on-device content moderation succeeds it will
usher in the end of consumer end-to-end encryption and create a
framework for governments to outsource their mass surveillance
directly to social media companies, completely bypassing encryption.
In the end, encryption's days are numbered and the world has Facebook
to thank. '
-- source: https://it.slashdot.org/story/19/07/27/206248
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174