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DOJ Pressures Facebook to Build Back-Doors in Encrypted Products

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The US Department of Justice has sent a letter to Facebook encouraging it to create back-doors in its products that would allow authorities to snoop on encrypted private messages between users. Also signing the letter were the agency’s British and Australian counterparts.
The renewal of the DOJ’s enduring campaign to allow authorities access to encrypted messages was prompted by Facebook’s recently-announced plans to merge its WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram products, increasing user privacy across the trio in the process. The letter urges Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to build a back-door into the company’s messaging applications that would allow authorities access should they require it as part of an investigation. The Department of Justice emphasized the importance of being able to read communications between individuals in the fight against terrorism, organized crime, and child pornography. Efforts by the agency to pressure popular social media and messaging companies had quietened down after the FBI managed to gain access to a locked iPhone, without the help of Apple. The tech firm had previously been requested to provide access to the device by a federal judge as part of the investigation into the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting. Facebook acknowledged the difficult position it was in at a company meeting at its headquarters yesterday. On the one hand, Zuckerburg has previously stated that he believes internet communication will increasingly move towards more encrypted models. However, he also recognizes that such platforms harbor evidence that could help bring potentially dangerous individuals or organizations to justice. Facebook Those opposed to such back-doors in encrypted products not only raise individual users’ privacy concerns but also how destructive the proposal could be. Creating any loopholes in software encrypted using current methods for government use also creates a back-door that hackers can exploit. Any effort to build such a feature into an application will only serve to undermine the entire security of the program. In other Facebook news, BeInCrypto reported on a European Court of Justice ruling against the social media company earlier this week. The most senior EU court held that the firm had a duty to remove potentially defamatory content about individuals. The ruling also means that Facebook must censor such content outside of the nation it was deemed offensive in. Critics of the judgment have pointed out how readily such content censorship might be exploited for political means, as well as difficulties in fairly implementing it. What do you think about the DOJ’s letter to Facebook? Do you think the social media company will crumble under the pressure? Comment below. 
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