Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Attorney General William Barr have differed regarding encrypted messaging. The disagreement on whether encrypted messaging products are subject to law enforcement escalated the standoff over-policing and privacy.
Facebook to go on with encryption of its messaging services
According to Stan Chudnovsky and Will Cathcart indicated that law enforcement will undermine the encryption in their messaging products. Facebook executives who lead Messenger and Whatsapp services stated that such a move will create a backdoor vulnerability that hackers can use to harm users.
In a letter to Barr, the executives argue that the “backdoor” access he is requesting for law enforcement could give access to access to hackers and criminals. As a result, this will give them a way to enter the systems of the messaging platforms leaving users vulnerable. The executives sent the letter ahead of the Tuesday Senate hearing about encryption.
Facebook has indicated that it will go forward an enable end-to-end encryption of its messaging products. Encryption locks the messages such that even Facebook cannot access the contents. Already Whatsapp messages are encrypted and the company plans to enhance the encryption in Instagram Direct and Messenger apps.
Encryption creating a problem to law enforcement
In a later event in the afternoon the attorney general stated that encryption created a problem for law enforcement. As a result, dealing with that problem was on the top agendas of the justice Department.
In October Barr wrote to Facebook asking the company to halt its plans of enabling end-to-end encryption of messages. Barr indicated that barring law enforcement access could jeopardize efforts to investigate and prevent crime. Barr stressed on risks of child sexual exploitation as the reason for policing the messaging apps.
Barr indicated that child pornographers, drug cartels and child sex predators are hiding behind these apps that are beyond access of investigators even with a warrant. He was critical of companies such a Facebook that is championing the idea that no matter what one does they will be impervious to state surveillance.