Facebook Has Refused Government Requests For Backdoor Into Encrypted Chats
Facebook has been fighting with the U.S. government and the governments of other countries over end-to-end encryption plans that would block anyone, Facebook included, out of chat conversations on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The Federal government doesn't like that as it says that encrypting everything gives abusers a place to practice their craft without fear of being caught by authorities. Facebook's WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption, but the social network wants to apply that to Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if Facebook didn't add the backdoor, "we're going to do this for you." In response, Facebook penned an open letter that essentially said there is no backdoor just for governments, criminals and hackers would find a way to exploit the backdoor as would oppressive regimes leading to real-world harm to users.
Along with the U.S. government, the governments of the U.K. and Australia are also calling on Facebook to end its "encryption on everything" plan. Facebook isn't alone in opposing the backdoor for government demand. Over 100 other organizations are on its side. One of those organizations is the Center for Democracy and Technology and Privacy International. It wrote in an open letter that a choice has to be made. Either everyone gets to spy, or no one gets to.
The federal government says that apps such as WhatsApp and Signal have "aided terrorist organizations, drug cartels, child molestation rings, and kiddie porn type rings." It remains to be seen what is ultimately done in this battle, but the fight is far from over as calls to force backdoors into services have raised bipartisan support. Neither side of the argument is backing down for now. Last we spoke of Facebook was in November when it was accused of accessing iPhone cameras in yet another security flub.