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US authorities press Facebook for access to Whatsapp, other encrypted messaging

United States Attorney General William Barr has been pressing Facebook to allow it access to encrypted messages that it has stored in the database. The Tech companies have been under heavy scrutiny since 2016 when revelations of the illegal data sharing came out in the open during the Cambridge Analytica case.

Whatsapp, the instant messaging app is owned by Facebook. The app uses end-to-end encryption which locks away the texts sent and prevents access to Whatsapp and Facebook. Thus maintaining the privacy of its users.

As facebook plans to bring in the encryption to other platforms like Messenger and Instagram Direct, US officials have been sceptical of the move. According to a report in The Hindu, US officials will write an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hold off the move.

The authorities have cited the concern of child sexual exploitation to justify the stance according to the letter. Law enforcement officials have been critical of the move as it does not allow them access to information which could have been vital in their investigations. Many consider this as an infringement of privacy if the officials are provided with a mechanism to access the encrypted texts.

Any loose ends in the encryption can also be exploited by unlawful element and n expose personal information to potential blackmailers. Several attempts have been made by government officials to provide them backdoor access to the software which many tech firms have been completely against as it would undermine the right to privacy of their users.

Many perpetrators have used social online media to spread their agenda, according to the report in The Hindu, US Attorney General Barr had detailed the use of a WhatsApp group used by drug cartels coordinating murders of Mexico-based police officials.

The governments have been attempting to have access to information since it was revealed that unlawful elements have been using those Softwares which have encryption available to protect their contents. Facebook had acknowledged the use of their apps by such elements as it provides privacy to all its users and has been finding ways to detect such patterns without accessing the content.

(Inputs from agencies)

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