US Public Prosecutor demands that Facebook encryption remove Messenger

Aug

19

2018

The US prosecutor is trying to get Facebook to remove the encryption on his Messenger app so that authorities can overhear a suspect’s voip calls. The issue has resulted in a lawsuit and Facebook is resisting.

The details of the federal case are not public, since the case is under seal , or behind closed doors. Three anonymous sources from Reuters open a booklet about the demands of the public prosecutor. The prosecutor wants the judge to judge that Facebook is contempt or court with its resistance.

The public prosecutor investigates a member of a so-called MS-13 gang, a violent criminal group that also deals with drug trafficking. One of the members would have enabled the optional e2e encryption of Messenger and use the voice function of the app to communicate with other gang members.

The case is reminiscent of the San Bernadino lawsuit. The FBI wanted to watch in the iPhone 5c of the deceased shooter Rizwan Farook, who shot 14 people in 2015 together with a henchman. The iPhone was encrypted and the FBI wanted Apple’s help in the form of custom firmware that would undo the encryption. Apple refused, because such firmware would compromise the security of all its devices and not just Farook’s. The FBI dropped the case after it had access to the contents of the phone thanks to the help of an unknown company, presumably Cellebrite.

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