U.K. Home Secretary warns about Facebook potentially encrypting Messenger

Facebook app on Android

The U.K.’s new Home Secretary is asking for “lawful access” to encrypted messages on Facebook’s Messenger through a backdoor that would be open for extraordinary cases.

Priti Patel wrote an article for the Telegraph in which she indicated that because the social media company is thinking of introducing end-to-end encryption on its messaging platform, it would help criminals like child abusers, drug traffickers and terrorists to plot attacks.

The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group backed Patel’s warnings, the Telegraph reported.

The Five Eyes include the U.K., the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Patel says that end-to-end encryption is important as it protects citizens’ privacy but it can be used for terrorism and extremism.

“This is not an abstract debate: Facebook’s recently announced plan to 
apply end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms presents significant challenges which we must work collaboratively to address.

“The use of end-to-end encryption in this way has the potential to have serious consequences for the vital work which companies already undertake to identify and remove child abuse and terrorist content,” Patel said.

The intelligence group, which just concluded a two-day meeting hosted by Patel and U.K.’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox in London, released a communiqué that stated: “Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can obtain access to data in a readable and usable format.”

Source: The Telegraph