Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses U.S. Government Attempts To Decrypt FB Messenger

The U.S. government is trying to break Facebook Messenger’s encryption to be able to listen to voice conversations in a criminal probe.

Similarly, the Australian government released a legislative proposal to give law enforcement agencies new rights to access personal user communications and data.

“Forced decryption and backdoor access goes against the basic principles of privacy. And every time privacy was challenged in the past, we saw an increase in customers,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN and cybersecurity expert. “For example, when Australia passed its mandatory data retention law, NordVPN saw a 300% growth in Australian users. Such increase stems from the fear that the basic right to privacy is getting increasingly undermined.”

According to the Globe and Mail, Facebook is contesting the demand of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Facebook may be held in contempt for refusing to allow surveillance.

“We understand the need for criminal investigations to proceed smoothly, but breaking the encryption of one company could open the doors to complete loss of privacy, leaked documents and personal details as well as misuse of data,” said Marty P. Kamden. “If Facebook Messenger is decrypted for one case, it will set a legal precedent, and other encrypted communication apps, such as WhatsApp or Signal might also be rewritten by government’s request. Decryption is not just listening to or reading one message and keeping the others private – it might mean that everyone’s messages will be exposed. This would make these apps unsafe to use for millions of its users.”

WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, currently counts 1.5 billion users worldwide, while Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users.

Facebook Messenger’s voice calls have end-to-end encryption, meaning they can be accessed only by the caller and the receiver, while Facebook’s Messenger text messages can also be encrypted by turning the “secret conversations” option on. WhatsApp and Signal also use end-to-end decryption.

“Tech community has been very concerned about the attempts of various governments to interfere with encrypted communications. That may put in harm’s way thousands of activists and dissidents in countries with authoritarian regimes and expose ordinary users’ data to hackers and cybercriminals,” added Marty P. Kamden. “We definitely think decryption would cause more harm than good.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: