The US, UK and Australia Want Facebook to Halt End to End Encryption

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Date: 04 – October – 2019

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High ranking officials sent an open letter to Facebook requesting to not proceed with its end to end encryption plan.

Today the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, U.K. Secretary of State Priti Patel, and Australian Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton sent an “open letter” to Facebook, requesting to don’t encrypt the communications of its users without providing governments a back door for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens.”  

 The officials criticized the end to end encryption arguing that Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.”

 Also, they request to Facebook and other technology companies to work together and allow them to obtain “lawful access to content in a readable and usable format” and to engage in consultation with governments to facilitate this in a way that is substantive and genuinely influence your design decisions.”

 Currently, only WhatsApp uses end to end encryption, but Facebook is working to implement the end to end encryption in all its services, something that goes in the opposite direction of what the officials requested in their open letter.

And as TechCrunch accurately points, in the letter they don’t talk about the option of using the metadata for conducting investigations (extracted via a warrant), the metadata is not protected by the WhatsApp end-to-end encryption and can be provided to the authorities on a readable format, as the four official requested on their letter, for now, we can only wait to see how Facebook and big companies will react to this “request” made by officials of the three countries. 

 

And if you are wondering what the government can do with the metadata? Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA answered that in 2014… 

 

 spoiler alert… second 0:27