Facebook plans to implement end-to-end encryption to it’s messaging apps, a move that would effectively ensure only the sender and receiver can view messages. The UK’s Home Secretary has said the social media giant was operating in “dangerous territory” and warned the government would impose fines if it let people communicate without being tracked.
Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed her concerns that stronger encryption would jeopardize counterterrorism investigations and precent the interception of other crimes.
Of course, law enforcement and intelligence services would prefer Facebook to have access to messages on its apps so that it can provide them to assist investigations where necessary.
“We’ll bring changes, we will legislate [and] we will absolutely fine companies because this is a dangerous territory for Facebook to be operating in,” Patel said in an interview on Times Radio.
Last week the director general of MI5 Ken McCallum, expressed similar concerns, accusing Facebook of giving terrorists a “free pass.”
“If you have end-to-end default encryption with absolutely no means of unwrapping that encryption, you are in effect giving those rare people – terrorists or people who are organising child sexual abuse online, some of the worst people in our society – a free pass where they know that nobody can see into what they are doing in those private living rooms,” McCallum said.
“This is an unsolved problem, which needs proper attention. We are not in any way seeking some form of surveillance state,” he added.
However, Facebook argues that stronger encryption is for the good of its users, to prevent attacks from hackers.
“End-to-end encryption is already the leading security technology used by many services to keep people safe from hackers and criminals,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
“Its full rollout on our messaging services is a long-term project and we are building strong safety measures into our plans.”