Recently, in a shocking revelation, it has come to light that the FBI has allegedly tried to coax Facebook into providing a backdoor to its chat engine, Facebook chat. The request has been reportedly turned down by FaceBook, in a coveted court proceeding.
If Facebook had succumbed to the pressure and decrypted the messages, it would have marred the rights of American citizens, which includes the right to privacy.
According to reports, the FBI had been investigating the MS-13 Gang and had sought Facebook’s co-operation in the matter. This took another dimension when the authorities tried to hold the Social Media Titan to be in contempt of court for refusing to oblige to “the request”.
For further clarity on the matter, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has requested for the unsealing of the court documents for the benefit of the public at large. According to ACLU, the right to privacy of the American citizens was endangered by this act and therefore calls for an answer.
“A core tenet of our democratic system is that the people must have a say in the laws that bind them,” the ACLU said this week. “That’s why secret judicial proceedings and opinions are particularly troubling. Yet this past summer, a critical legal dispute potentially affecting the private communications of millions of Americans was litigated entirely in secret.”
The ACLU has requested the unsealing of these Court documents and has sought more clarity on the matter. It has rightly pointed out the need for future references, by companies that could land in similar situations.
The FBI reportedly accessed the text messages of the suspects but has been unable to intercept the voice calls, and had, therefore, decided to ask Facebook to decrypt the chat conversations.
The US Government has been demanding Facebook to consider making the necessary technical arrangements in order to provide access to the investigating authorities to be able to listen to the conversation between its users.
In other words, the government wants the law enforcement agencies to be able to access communication between American citizens, which is a clear violation of their fundamental rights.
Facebook turned down the request stating that an obscene amount of investment would be required for a decryption set-up, something that it need not do.
The FBI-Facebook episode is not the first time where authorities have pushed an IT company to divulge the information of its users. Recently, there had been another episode of an ugly battle between the FBI and Apple. Therefore, a laudable and diligent step has been taken by the ACLU.