Google said on Thursday it would introduce end-to-end encryption for Android users, which makes it more difficult for others to read the contents of messages, including law enforcement.
“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 Drew Rowny, product manager of Google, who confirmed the roll-out.
The change by Google is included in an upgrade from SMS to the Rich Communication Services standard (RCS) with additional image and video functionality.
For people who interact on Android powered devices, it will be accessible.
The change provides Google’s messaging application with additional privacy and protection, but in the light of increased concerns from global law enforcement firms that heavy encryption will help criminals cover their routes.
Digital rights advocates have been promoting strong encryption for a long time to deter governments and internet offenders from snooping. However some governments have cautioned that technology could impede criminal research.
Some services, like Facebook-owned WhatsApp, also provide end-to-end encryption, but the firm has faced resilience over its aim to add total encryption to its Messaging app.
Last year, US Attorney General William Barr and British and Australian counterparts called on Facebook to discontinue cryptography, arguing that the plan court hurt child abuse investigations.
Civil liberties advocates opposed the absence of encryption or privileged access to the law to harm confidentiality and protection of all Internet users, thus creating gaps for malfunctioning actors.