The US government has made it known that they want to listen in on conversations through Facebook’s Messenger app and thus continue to raise privacy concerns. What exactly is going on?
The US government is trying to literally force Facebook into breaking the encryption in its Messenger app. This so that law enforcement agents can listen in on conversations when need be. While many have not heard of this whole situation until recently apparently it has been a subject for quite some time. Facebook currently says that in order to do that it will have to rewrite the code used by all Facebook Messenger users.
According to Reuters, Facebook is contesting the US Department of Justice’s demand. Not long ago the judge on this case heard arguments on a government motion to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request. Yes, this is an actual case at this point. This issue with Facebook messenger came to be as part of an investigation into the MS-13 gang according to one of Reuters insiders.
Reuters went on to report as follows in regards:
U.S. President Donald Trump frequently uses the gang, which is active in the United States and Central America, as a symbol of lax U.S. immigration policy and a reason to attack so-called “sanctuary” laws preventing police from detaining people solely to enforce immigration law.
Trump called members of the gang “animals” this year when the Sheriff of Fresno County complained that California laws limited her co-operation with federal immigration enforcement targeting gang members.
The potential impact of the judge’s coming ruling is unclear. If the government prevails in the Facebook Messenger case, it could make similar arguments to force companies to rewrite other popular encrypted services such as Signal and Facebook’s billion-user WhatsApp, which include both voice and text functions, some legal experts said.
Law enforcement agencies forcing technology providers to rewrite software to capture and hand over data that is no longer encrypted would have major implications for the companies which see themselves as defenders of individual privacy while under pressure from police and lawmakers.
Many are on the fence about whether or not the government will be able to force Facebook into compliance but who knows with the world as it is currently. What do you think about this?
Image via Time