Elon Musk demanded encrypted private messages on Twitter: it’s happening

Now that he is at the helm of Twitter, Elon Musk has the means to obtain what he demanded: end-to-end encryption for private messages. Indications in this direction appear.

April 28, 2022. Elon Musk posted a message on Twitter to express his point of view on the confidentiality of private messages (DM) on the social network. According to him, these conversations should benefit from end-to-end encryption, like the Signal application. Thus, no one could spy on or hack your messages, explained the American billionaire.

End-to-end encryption consists of using complex mathematical calculations to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of a message. Thanks to a protocol, the data is hidden in characters that seem to have neither head nor tail. To read them, you must have a special (and secret) key. Without it, it is in principle impossible to decipher them.

End-to-end encryption is a health issue // Source: Canva
End-to-end encryption mixes plain text into a string of incomprehensible characters. // Source: Canva

Since then, the person concerned did not mention this topic again on the community site. What has changed, however, is its status: since October 2022, Elon Musk has become the owner of Twitter, at the cost of an investment of 44 billion dollars. In doing so, he now has the possibility of obtaining what he demanded when he was only a “simple” user.

This is what he has been reminded of these days, like the organization Fight for the Future, which defends digital freedoms. ” Hello Elon Musk. I come to the news. Is there any news on when Twitter will encrypt them? Free speech advocates around the world would like to know… », wrote the NGONovember 14.

Clues in the code, a nod to Elon Musk

It turns out that the lines are moving, precisely. Portions of code have been spotted in the Twitter app for Android. Lines referring to end-to-end encryption were shared by Jane Manchun Wong, a computer scientist who dedicates her time to analyzing applications to try to uncover hidden functions or functions in development.

These few lines do not say much about the progress of the project or any release date, assuming that the project comes to an end. That being the case, it’s worth noting that Elon Musk saw Jane Manchun Wong’s tweet and replied with a simple winking smiley. A simple emoticon, but one that suggests this feature is coming.

Elon Musk plays, it is true, part of his credibility. He is in charge of Twitter and if a feature is missing, he can impose it on his teams – on those that remain, at least, because half of the workforce has jumped. Moreover, the person concerned presents himself as an “absolutist” of freedom of expression. However, end-to-end encryption contributes to this freedom.

The idea of ​​end-to-end encryption of private messages is not new and certainly did not come with Elon Musk. It has been considered for ten years by the social network – we were already talking about it in 2013, at the time of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the mass surveillance programs of American intelligence agencies.

However, this project was never completed. In 2016, Edward Snowden had challenged Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, on this subject. Clues had emerged in 2018. Two years later, it had still been put on the table after the service was hacked.

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