Delicate balance between security and safety for messaging services

By

Opinion

October 10, 2019 - 10:45 AM

Facebook wants to pivot to privacy, but there’s a new obstacle in its path: Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mr. Barr and other law enforcement officials in the United States, Britain and Australia are asking the technology company to scrap its much-touted plan to make all of its messaging services end-to-end encrypted by default, BuzzFeed reported last week. The move is likely the first salvo in a broader fight against programs that put users’ communications out of government’s reach — a trend that Mr. Barr this summer called “unacceptable” and “exceptionally dangerous.”

But leaving consumers’ information unprotected is dangerous, too. The officials say in their letter that they support a “means for lawful access,” otherwise known as a “backdoor” for authorities to enter when they come knocking with a warrant. The problem is, a door for U.S. authorities could be a door for everyone else. And everyone else wants in.

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