The Justice Department is now going after WhatsApp over encryption

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By Larry Banks

Apple has hit the headlines in the last few weeks after the FBI said the company must help unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernadino terrorists. But now the Justice Department is going after Facebook-owned chat service WhatsApp, as it also allows users to send encrypted messages, reports The New York Times.

In an ongoing case a federal judge approved a wiretap but the investigators can’t decrypt any messages sent using WhatsApp, as it uses end to end encryption, meaning that only the sender and receiver can see the conversations they send. Not even the company itself can read the content of messages.

It basically stated the same thing when a Facebook exec was arrested last month in Brazil over the messaging service “failing to comply with judicial orders” to allow access to messages. And in a statement said that WhatsApp could not “provide information we do not have”.

The Justice Department is in the process of determining how to proceed with the investigation, which officials say does not involve terrorists. The Justice Department and WhatsApp have not yet commented on the case or shared any other relevant details.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, courts will need to evaluate if compliance via an order is an “undue burden” on Apple and WhatsApp’s cases, allowing WhatsApp to use the same arguments that Apple has made in the San Bernadino case.

SOURCE: The New York Times.

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