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‘Don’t introduce end-to-end encryption,’ UK, US and Australia ask Facebook in an open letter

USA, UK and Australia have signed an open letter (given below) “requesting” Facebook not to implement end-to-end encryption on its messaging services without including a way for the governments to access this content for the protection of citizens. This letter comes at the heels of the signing of the first Data Access Agreement between the US and the UK under the CLOUD Act which will allow the two countries to request access to electronic data in each other’s countries directly. MediaNama has reached out to Facebook for comment. Who all signed the letter? US Attorney General William Barr, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, British Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Australian Home Minister Peter Dutton Why did they write the open letter? In March 2019, Facebook had announced that it would eventually introduce end-to-end encryption to all its messaging services. The three countries who signed the letter, and other countries who haven’t (including India), are wary of that as the law enforcement agencies would lose access to content that has helped them nab terrorists, paedophiles, and other serious criminals. “… we must ensure that technology companies protect their users and others affected by their users’ online activities. Security enhancements to the virtual world should not make us more vulnerable in the physical world.” Has lack of encryption actually helped the governments? As per the letter, yes. It states that Facebook’s own safety systems identified more than 99% of the content that Facebook took action against, both for child…

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