One of the features we’re seeing more companies introduce in their products and services is encryption. For example, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption which means that even in the event that messages sent and received are intercepted, they will not be able to read them due to them being encrypted.

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From an end-user point of view, this is fantastic news as it means that our data is secure and private, but from a law enforcement point of view, it makes it a lot harder to try and gather information about suspects for ongoing cases. So much so that the US Department of Justice is asking Facebook to halt their plans to roll out end-to-end encryption across its platform.

According to a draft of an open letter obtained by BuzzFeed News, Attorney General Bill Barr writes, “Security enhancements to the virtual world should not make us more vulnerable in the physical world. Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes.”

It adds, “Risks to public safety from Facebook’s proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children.” This is not the first time that tech companies and law enforcement agencies have clashed over these issues, as in the past, companies like Apple have butted heads with the FBI over the iPhone’s encryption.

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