UPDATED 11:12 AM PT – Friday, October 4, 2019
The head of the FBI is speaking out against Facebook’s decision to add encryption to its Messenger program. While speaking to law enforcement officials in Washington Friday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said law enforcement agencies could lose the ability to find criminals online and bring them to justice.
The new encryption would shield communication between users from surveillance and the content would also be inaccessible by the company, meaning agencies can’t get access even with a warrant.
Director Wray continued by saying Facebook’s plan would create a lawless space for child predators without fear of consequences.
“Facebook would transform from the main provider of child exploitation tips to a dream come true for predators and child pornographers,” he stated. “A platform that allows them to find and connect with kids and like minded criminals with little fear of consequences.”
We’re standing with Government who are urging Facebook to stop their plans for end-to-end encryption. This is essential to keep children safe from potential groomers online and end the #WildWestWeb. Facebook must put children’s safety first. pic.twitter.com/dqHua3Xxqs
— NSPCC (@NSPCC) October 4, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision to encrypt messages, saying the platform will still be able to identify child predators by using the same tools it uses to combat election interference. Despite this, Attorney General William Barr and officials from the U.K. are pushing Facebook to drop its encryption plans.