Facebook Declines Backdoor Access To WhatsApp, Messenger, InstaDirect

Facebook stated that they would not build a backdoor for authorities, as it will make its apps vulnerable to threats.

Facebook recently declined requests by government representatives from US, UK and Australia, to bring an end to end-to-end encryption on its messaging services, in a letter to United States Attorney General and his counterparts in UK and Australia.

The social media giant's statement came in response to an open letter in October by government representatives from countries around the world, requesting Facebook to give their respective administrations access to people's chat.

The representatives had suggested that Facebook provide a special backdoor channel specifically for law enforcement in their respective countries - to help them combat the use of secure messaging apps for sharing child sexual imageries, exploitation and abusing children with anonymity and sharing information related to terrorist activities.

Facebook, in its response, stated that such backdoor channels will create vulnerabilities in the app which can be exploited by anyone interested in stealing private data.

According to BuzzFeed News, who has been following this interaction closely, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart and Messenger head Stan Chudnovsky responded to the October open letter by stating, "It is simply impossible to create such a backdoor for one purpose and not expect others to try and open it. People's private messages would be less secure and the real winners would be anyone seeking to take advantage of that weakened security. That is not something we are prepared to do."

This comes at a time when Facebook publicly stated its intention to implement end-to-end encryption - which only exists on WhatsApp for now - on Instagram Direct and Messenger as well.

End-to-end encryption is a data encryption method that prevents anyone other than the sender and receiver of data to read or modify the transferred content. The ongoing debate over such encryption method has usually been divided into two major arguments - one that favours privacy of individuals (pro-encryption), and one that favours security and public safety (pro-de-encryption).

While end-to-end encryption is generally considered a good method to protect private data of individuals, there has been instances in the past where such encryption has been bypassed with the help of advanced malwares. The most well known example was in the month of October 2019, when an Israeli-made software called Pegasus was used to snoop on WhatsApp messages of journalists, activists and lawyers around the world - including India.

Updated On: 2019-12-11T15:46:28+05:30
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