Two months after the British, American and Australian governments wrote an open letter to Facebook asking it to not implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms or build a backdoor to it for law enforcement agencies, Facebook and WhatsApp have replied (available below) and refused to do either. The letter was sent by Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp, and Stan Chudnovsky, the head of Messenger. Why did they send the open letter? On October 4, US Attorney General William Barr, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan, British Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Australian Home Minister Peter Dutton had written to Facebook asking it to let law enforcement get lawful access to content in a readable and usable format (read: build backdoor) and “not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content”. Why don’t Facebook and WhatsApp want to remove encryption? As per the letter, Chapter in privacy-focused approach: As Facebook is now focusing on privacy, end-to-end encryption has emerged as its friend. The letter also cites another open letter, that has now been signed by over 100 civil society organisations, that supports Facebook’s implementation of end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms. First line of defense: Encrypted messaging services form “the first line of defense” against cyber attacks, criminals, and repressive regimes. Reduces incidents of cyber crimes: Encryption at large “vastly” reduces incidents of serious and common crimes like hacking and identity theft. Why are the companies against building a backdoor? They argue that…
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