Human Rights Organizations Request Companies to Make Direct Messages Safe

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Leila Nashashibi
Campaigner, Fight for the Future

More than 60 human rights and privacy organizations that have signed an open letter calling on companies with online messaging platforms and tools to implement default end-to-end encrypted messaging immediately to ensure that direct messages are safe.

The endorsing organizations include the National Network of Abortion Funds, Amnesty International USA, Greenpeace USA, Ultraviolet, United We Dream, GLAAD, and the Women’s March.

According to Leila Nashashibi, Campaigner at Fight for the Future, the organisation which released the list, “From the directors of government security agencies, to human rights defenders, to Big Tech companies themselves, the support for end-to-end encrypted messaging is vast. Communities targeted by police surveillance have been drawing attention to the life-or-death implications of this privacy feature for years, and now it’s more urgent than ever for companies to finally implement end-to-end encryption as the default across Direct Messaging (DM) platforms.”

She added, “Alongside more than 50 other human rights and privacy-focused organizations, we’re sending a message to companies everywhere: until they make end-to-end encryption the default and ensure that messages between their users are truly private, they play ally to anti-rights crackdowns and enable mass-scale digital surveillance. Make our DMs safe now.”

The Make DMs Safe campaign, highlights the urgent need for default end-to-end encryption in a post-Roe world, where unencrypted communication tools put abortion seekers in direct danger of attacks from law enforcement and right-wing extremists. It also highlights how this technology keeps everyone safe – including Black communities, Muslims, immigrants, and journalists that have been targets of state surveillance historically and would benefit immensely from safe communication platforms.

End-to-end encryption prevents anyone other than the sender and recipient from accessing shared messages and files. Without it, company employees, hackers, and law enforcement are able to access “private” conversations. The Make DMs Safe page provides a report on the current end-to-end encryption policies of six companies: Meta, Twitter, Google, Apple, Slack, and Discord.

As part of the campaign launch, Fight for the Future has also sent letters to each of these companies requesting a meeting to discuss the shortcomings in their policies as well as specific actions they must take to meet the campaign’s demands. The letters are available on the campaign page.

For further information, and full list of organizations that have signed on to the open letter, please visit the link below: https://www.fightforthefuture.org/news/2022-10-13-make-dms-safe-orgs.