US authorities seek access to Facebook encrypted messaging

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NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr wants Facebook to give law enforcement a way to read encrypted messages sent by users, re-igniting tensions between tech companies and law enforcement.

Facebook’s WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption, meaning that even Facebook cannot read the text of messages. Facebook plans to extend that protection to Messenger and Instagram Direct.

While law enforcement wants a way to read messages analogous to wiretaps for phone calls, security experts say giving police such access makes messaging insecure for everyone.

Barr will make the request to Facebook in a letter with counterparts from the U.K. and Australia as well as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. A copy of the latter, dated this Friday, was obtained by The Associated Press.

BuzzFeed News reported on the letter earlier.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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