The US, UK, and Australian officials want Facebook to rethink its plans to encrypt all messages on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

The request is to be delivered in an open letter to Facebook pressing the social media company to create a backdoor to give law enforcement access to encrypted messages.

In their letter, US Attorney General William Barr, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, and Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton ask Facebook to give law enforcement a way to read

“We are writing to request that Facebook does not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services without ensuring that there is no reduction to user safety and without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens,” the letter writes.

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2018

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2018


Access To Facebook Encrypted Messaging

The policy threatens international efforts to grant authorities faster access to private messages on social media. A special data agreement would fast track requests from law enforcement to technology companies for information about the communications of child predators and terrorists.

In 2016, Apple refused to build a backdoor key to help unlock the iPhone belonging to a terrorist for the FBI investigation. Law enforcement ultimately unlocked the phone without Apple’s help.

Facebook will now stand up against governments on encryption.

“End-to-end encryption already protects the messages of over a billion people every day. It is increasingly used across the communications industry and in many other important sectors of the economy,” Facebook said in a statement. “We strongly oppose government attempts to build backdoors because they would undermine the privacy and security of people everywhere.”

According to the open letter, Facebook reported about 17 million cases to the US National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2018. Facebook will no longer be able to provide evidence to help solve cases if it continues encrypting its messaging service.

Facebook argues that encryption also protects whistleblowers, journalists, protesters and human rights activities speaking out against government abuses.