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Computers are keeping secrets. A team from Google Brain, Google’s deep learning project, has shown that machines can learn how to protect their messages from prying eyes.
Researchers Martín Abadi and David Andersen demonstrate that neural networks, or “neural nets” – computing systems that are loosely based on artificial neurons – can work out how to use a simple encryption technique.
Facebook on Tuesday launched end-to-end encryption for all users of its Messenger mobile app, though the option isn't on by default, and comes with some other limitations.
"Secret Conversations" must not only be toggled on in the app's Settings, but manually enabled for each new conversation by tapping "Secret" in the top right corner of the "New Message" screen. Encryption can't be applied retroactively, and both the sender and the receiver must have the latest version of Messenger.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, has publicly endorsed encryption, saying that it’s good for public safety.
During a yearly meeting for the Utah Technology Council in Salt Lake City, Cook said that “Encryption is one of the things that makes the public safe,” and reaffirmed his company’s unequivocal commitment to privacy and device integrity:
Until now, anyone using the Google cloud platform, Google Compute Engine, was forced to use encryption keys generated by Google. Clearly this spooked a lot of people, and there have long been calls for users to be granted greater control of security.
Now this is happening -- users are able to provide their own encryption keys. Customer-Supplied Encryption Key (CSEK) are used to provide a second layer of security, on top of the Google-generated keys that are used by default.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced plans to offer end-to-end encryption in Messenger by the end of the summer. Now the company is starting to roll out the new feature, called Secret Conversations, to some people.
Android Police received several screenshots of the new feature, though it doesn’t seem to actually work yet. It’s also unclear if Facebook is only releasing Secret Conversations to beta testers at this point or offering it to some regular users as an A/B test.