Now police might be able to access Facebook and WhatsApp encrypted messages

According to a recent report, Facebook and WhatsApp will have to give access to users’ encrypted messages to UK police. According to an upcoming new agreement with the US, Facebook, WhatsApp and a variety of other social media platforms will now have to make their data available to law enforcement agencies whenever needed.

A report by Bloomberg states that Facebook and its messaging app WhatsApp will now have to give access to the encrypted messages of users to police under a new agreement with the US. The treaty also includes the social media platforms based in the US and all of them would be required to share specified data to investigation teams of serious crimes like terrorism and pedophilia, etc. The new treaty between the US and UK will be finalized in October and according to the report, the information obtained from the citizen of US and UK cannot be used against each other like information obtained from UK based firms can’t be used by the US in their death penalty cases.

The access to encrypted messages of social media platforms was always considered as cover for criminals by law enforcement officials and police always suggested to provide some secret access to these messages so that they can help law officers to carry out their investigations. The critics always denied this idea of providing access to user information as it can also be used by malicious hackers to access and easily exploit user information.

In December, legislation was passed by Australia that would force tech companies to help law enforcement authorities by providing access to encrypted information of suspected criminals and it was the world’s first legislation. In the US, the advocates of privacy are forcing the government to unseal a special court ruling in the cases that involve the Department of Justice and Facebook. The ruling held in 2018 stated that FBI couldn’t force the social networks to provide access of their encrypted phone calls on Facebook Messenger and according to the privacy advocates this new ruling will have implications on future cases related to privacy and government surveillance.

In May, a UK based intelligence agency named GCHQ offered police a way to access user private messages without violating their encryptions and Apple, Google, Microsoft, WhatsApp, and so many other social platforms protested against this proposal. The GCHQ suggested a new strategy that service providers could silently add law enforcement participant in a group chat or call without notifying other participants and that is scary. The protest by the other tech companies was to state that this ghost key technique threatens cybersecurity and violate basic human rights.

Response from Facebook

Although there is no official response from the US Department of State regarding the report on treaty display by Bloomberg but Facebook responded to it by stating that that social platform believes that its users have all the right to have encrypted personal conversations online and its End-to-End encryption is meant to help secure the basic rights of its users by security their personal conversation. The social media platform also opposes the attempts of the government to build back doors and this is something that is never going to happen but to keep all others safe providing information to the law enforcement can help that. So the social media platform will always provide available information to law enforcements whenever they submit a valid legal request for it.

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

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