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.
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