If you’re a frequent user of chat/messaging apps, whether you’re using them on a work computer, a mobile phone, or via a web browser and you care about security, you may want to figure out if you’re using “End-to-end encryption.”
What that means is that whenever a message is sent, the information is encrypted in a way that only the sender and receiver have access to a decrypted version. If a service such a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger’s Secret Conversation mode were to be hacked or the government were to request a copy of chats in an investigation, they theoretically still wouldn’t be able to read the messages; even the company that owns the tech doesn’t have a way to decrypt messages. Only a few popular messaging apps offer the feature, particularly ones focused on security such as Signal and Telegram.
End-to-end encryption has become controversial recently in England where some would like for tech companies to create a backdoor allowing for law enforcement to bypass this kind of security (which would, in effect, defeat the purpose of having it). It’s unclear whether tech companies would even be able to do that without stripping out the encryption technology entirely.
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