White House contemplates with the idea of banning the best privacy feature of popular social media apps, including WhatsApp and Telegram

After targeting Apple and Huawei, the Trump administration is all geared up to target the end-to-end encryption used in apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.

Technically, the end-to-end encryption feature means that the messages sent via the portal can only be read by the sender and the receiver – and cannot be accessed by any third party, even the company running the messaging app.

The same type of encryption protocol is used in iMessages on iOS devices as well.

However, as reported by Politico, senior officials from the Trump administration are considering asking Congress to ban the end-to-end encryption feature. They claim that this prevents law enforcement agencies from investigating cybercrime, drug trafficking, child pornography, and even terrorism.

A recently held meeting at the National Security Council’s NSC Deputies Committee discussed the matter but could not reach upon an agreement.

In the case, the bill does pass security on both – iOS and Android will be significantly compromised. The move will make it very easy for hackers to break into smartphones and get hold of personal data. This will also increase the probability of cyber-abuse such as stalking.

According to a recently published report in this matter, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is divided on the issue. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says that they understand the importance of encryption but ICE and Secret Service often face hindrance due to the same. The Justice Department and FBI also claim that catching criminals is more important than the protection of personal data.

On the other hand, the Commerce and State Departments raise their concerns and state that ending the encryption may result in economic, diplomatic, and security consequences.

Back in 2016, Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) proposed a bill that forced tech companies to allow law enforcement agencies to view encrypted messages. This was after the San Bernardino attack and as a result, the court ordered Apple to unlock the phone belonging to the shooter, Syed Farook.

However, Apple refused to comply due to technical concerns after which the FBI turned to third party companies who specialized in hacking handsets.

Critics of the Trump administration claim that removing the end-to-end encryption from mobile phones will make it easier for the team to learn about those who are not in favor of the current president.

As of now, Google doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption and the users who are interested in such security will have to turn to third-party apps such as Signal, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and WhatsApp.

Photo: Getty

Read next: Apple, Google, Facebook disagreed to eavesdrop on encrypted messages
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