Facebook is being leant on by US, UK, Australia to ditch its end-to-end encryption expansion plan

TechCrunch | 10/3/2019 | Staff
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Here we go again. Western governments are once again dialling up their attack on end-to-end encryption — calling for either no e2e encryption or backdoored e2e encryption so platforms can be commanded to serve state agents with messaging data in “a readable and usable format”.

US attorney general William Barr, acting US homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan, UK home secretary Priti Patel and Australia’s minister for home affairs, Peter Dutton, have co-signed an open letter to Facebook calling on the company to halt its plan to roll out e2e encryption across its suite of messaging products. Unless the company can ensure what they describe as “no reduction to user safety and without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens”, per a draft of the letter obtained by BuzzFeed ahead of publication later today.

Platforms - Encryption - Means - Access - Content

If platforms have e2e encryption a “means for lawful access” to the content of communications sums to a backdoor in the crypto.

Presumably along the lines of the ‘ghost protocol’ that UK spooks have been pushing for the past year. Aka an “exceptional access mechanism” that would require platforms CC’ing a state/law enforcement agent as a silent listener to eavesdrop on a conversation on warranted request.

WhatsApp - Number - Giants - Coalition - Society

Facebook-owned WhatsApp was one of a number of tech giants joining an international coalition of civic society organizations, security and policy experts condemning the proposal as utter folly earlier this year.

The group warned that demanding a special security hole in encryption for law enforcement risks everyone’s security by creating a vulnerability which could be exploited by hackers. Or indeed service providers themselves. But the age-old ‘there’s no such thing as a backdoor just for you’ warning appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Letter - Facebook - Officials - Companies

In their open letter to Facebook, the officials write: “Companies should not deliberately design their...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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