Google said recently it will be rolling out end-to-end encryption for Android users, making it harder for anyone — including law enforcement — to read the content of messages.
“End-to-end encryption ensures that no one, including Google and third
parties, can read the content of your messages as they travel between your phone and the phone of the person you’re messaging,” said Google product lead Drew Rowny in announcing the rollout.
Google’s move is part of an upgrade from SMS to the Rich Communication
Services (RCS) standard with additional features for images and videos.
It will be available for people communicating using Android-powered
The move brings additional privacy and security to Google’s messaging
application, but comes amid rising complaints from law enforcement agencies around the world that strong encryption may enable criminals to hide their tracks.
Digital rights activists have long supported strong encryption to allow
users to avoid snooping by governments and cybercriminals. But some
governments have warned the technology could hinder criminal investigations.
End-to-end encryption is already available on some services such as
Facebook-owned WhatsApp, but the company has been facing resistance over its plan to bring full encryption to its Messenger app.
Last year, US Attorney General William Barr joined with British and
Australian counterparts in urging Facebook to abandon its encryption,
claiming the plan court hurt investigations into child exploitation.
Civil liberties groups countered that a lack of encryption or privileged
access for law enforcement could hurt privacy and security for all internet
users, creating holes that could be exploited by bad actors.