Privacy has always been an important part of one’s daily life. But with the allure of the internet and the resources that it offers, privacy has become a commodity, with many trading their privacy for access to valuable tools and different forms of “free” entertainment. Although the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal may be long forgotten in the minds of many, it looks like the company is once again being tested, as a new report has surfaced that indicates the United States government is trying to force Facebook to break the encryption on its popular Messenger app.
According to Reuters, the U.S. government wants access to Messenger so that law enforcement can monitor voice conversations of suspects of an investigation. Details about the case are unknown, as it has been filed under seal, meaning that it will otherwise remain confidential and won’t be on the public record. But people familiar with the matter have said that Facebook has contested the request, even going as far as to explain that phone calls in Messenger are encrypted end-to-end, which would require the company to either rewrite the code for the application or pursue the target directly.
Since this is an ongoing investigation, there is the possibility that Facebook could cave. But for now, things remain as-is. The relationship between law enforcement and technology companies has been tested over the past few years. Many incidents have occurred, which have required the assistance of tech companies when it comes to breaching the privacy of the people involved. Perhaps one of the more famous examples of this was an iPhone of interest related to the San Bernardino attack that occurred in 2015. While this battle will certainly rage on, one has to wonder just how long tech companies will be able to hold off the government and maintain the privacy of its users.