In a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr and the British and Australian heads of state and government
Facebook said it would not weaken the end-to-end encryption of its messaging apps despite the pressure from world governments.
Sent Monday, in response to an October open letter from Barr, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, Australian Home Secretary Peter Dutton and then incumbent US Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, raised concerns that Facebook was implementing end-to-end encryption in the WhatsApp and messenger apps would prevent law enforcement agencies from tracking down illegal activities such as child sexual exploitation, terrorism and election interference. The United States government, the United Kingdom government, and the Australian government asked the social network company to design a back door in its encryption protocols or a separate law enforcement path to gain access to user content.
"It is simply impossible to create such a back door for a purpose that is not expected to be opened by others," wrote WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart and messenger boss Stan Chudnovsky in Facebook's response. "People's private messages would be less secure and the real winners would be anyone who wants to take advantage of this weakened security. We are not willing to do that."
End-to-end encryption prevents people – governments, security agencies or hackers – from opening up Access or view the content of a message between two parties and is a key feature for popular apps like WhatsApp and Signal.Government agencies have long searched for a way to access message content in encrypted apps, arguing that despite more general privacy concerns in the Public security interests.
Facebook's letter went to Jay Sullivan, Messenger & # 39; s Director of Product Management for Privacy and Integrity, ready on Tuesday at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Encryption." and legitimate access " to testify with a senior officer from the Apple and New York City Attorney General, Cyrus Vance Jr. In his opening speech, published before his appearance, Von Sullivan is expected to discuss how Facebook and other companies can work with governments to support law enforcement without weakening encryption.
Authoritarian regimes around the world will request or attempt to secretly gain access, including the persecution of dissidents, jou journalists, and their political opponents, ”he said. "Maintaining the importance of American values on the Internet requires strict privacy and security protection, including strong encryption."
After more than a year of public review of the company's lax data and data protection practices by Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, made a much-noticed turn toward data protection. Most recently, Zuckerberg defended the company's move toward encryption in leaked internal comments received from Verge. He called it "socially important" and said it was "the right thing to protect people's privacy more".
The Letter from the United States The governments of Great Britain and Australia shared Facebook in October, which was first published by BuzzFeed News. Businesses shouldn't intentionally develop systems to thwart governmental intervention and investigations, and highlight opportunities for child exploitation in encrypted apps. Facebook reacted decisively at that time and since then has given no indication that the encryption of WhatsApp and Messenger, each with more than a billion users, is being weakened.
In Monday's response, Facebook officials highlighted the company's investment in artificial intelligence and human moderation, which Facebook has talked about time and again when trying to part with a crowded 2018 year. They also found that WhatsApp detects and blocks 2 million accounts each month based on “abuse patterns” and scans of unencrypted information, including profile and group information.
The letter also referred to the company's argument that its size allowed it to recognize more bad content. Given numerous antitrust investigations and requests to regulators to resolve them, Facebook has found that the size and portfolio of the property represent an advantage in dealing with bad actors.
"Our teams are constantly developing new ways to try to track down activity patterns by finding bad activity beforehand and checking what we know about the accounts we provide," the letter said. "So if we know that someone is doing something bad on Facebook or Instagram, we can often take measures for their account on Messenger and WhatsApp and vice versa."