In a rare turn of events, executives at the social media giant Facebook told US Attorney General William Barr that they would not provide law enforcement with access to Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp before a senate hearing regarding encryption scheduled for today.
WhatsApp and FB Messenger heads stated that inserting a backdoor into their products would make it vulnerable to attacks. This lead to Facebook rejecting the request by Barr for access to their messenger service data.
Earlier in 2019, Mark Zuckerberg said the companies under his control would be transitioning to a more secure end-to-end encryption scheme. This type of messaging infrastructure is designed so that only the communicating users can read the messages.
Displeased with this, Barr responded by saying “Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes”
Jay Sullivan, Directory of Messaging Privacy at Facebook, spoke at the hearing. He stated that “it is critical that American companies lead in the area of secure and encrypted messaging” This suggests that the US based company believes foreign competitors will then be able to out compete in the encrypted messaging market, which would be against US interests for a variety of reasons.