Facebook executives has recently told Attorney General William Barr that the company would not provide law enforcement with investigative access to its encrypted messaging products ahead of a senate hearing on encryption on Tuesday.
In a letter, WhatsApp and Messenger heads Will Cathcart and Stan Chudnovsky, respectively, said: “The backdoor access you are demanding for law enforcement would be a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes, creating a way for them to enter our systems and leaving every person on our platforms more vulnerable to real-life harm,” the Facebook executives wrote. “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.”
Facebook’s Tuesday letter was sent in response to Barr’s October inquiry and came ahead of a Senate Judiciary hearing on encryption.
In his opening statement, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Apple and Facebook representatives that he appreciates the fact that people cannot hack into my phone, but encrypted devices and messaging create a safe haven for criminals and child exploitation.
At the hearing, Facebook’s director of messaging privacy, Jay Sullivan, told senators that the company thinks it is critical that American companies lead in the area of secure and encrypted messaging because if not, companies originating in foreign countries would provide the same services.
If so, Sullivan suggests, those companies would be further out of reach and uncooperative with US law enforcement officials.