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WhatsApp encryption reportedly impeding criminal investigation
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Mar 14, 2016, 08:59 AM
Apple is not the only tech company that the Department of Justice is attacking over encryption, as prosecutors are setting their sites on WhatsApp, according to a report. It is claimed government officials are in discussions over how to deal with a wiretap order for a criminal case that applies to the Facebook-owned service, one that cannot be easily implemented due to WhatsApp's use of encryption to protect both messages and voice calls made over the Internet.

Sources of the Justice Department speaking to the New York Times claim the internal debate is taking place over how to listen in, but are thwarted by WhatsApp's encryption. The company started to encrypt communications end-to-end between Android devices in 2014, adding support for iOS last year, and teamed up with Open Whisper Systems to strengthen the app's security further.

Unlike Apple's current dealings with the FBI, the case in question is said to be under seal, and report sources state it is not an investigation into terrorism, though the exact nature of the case and the location were also kept secret.

WhatsApp's usage of encryption has already landed the messaging service in trouble, with the arrest of a Facebook executive in Brazil prompted by WhatsApp's continued failure to comply with a court order in a drug trafficking case. The arrest, which took place earlier this month, occurred despite insistence from the company that "WhatsApp cannot provide information we do not have," namely encrypted data it cannot access itself.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 14, 2016 at 09:31 AM. )
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Mar 14, 2016, 09:44 AM
I knew this was coming. It isn't only Apple the FBI and DOJ are attacking, it's every system that uses any type of encryption to protect data. Contrary to what Obama says (and I voted for him) this is a black and white subject. There isn't any middle ground. Either you have a 100% secure encryption product or you don't. There's no such thing as a 99% secure product. That 1% is a back door or a side door or simply a way to bypass the software's control to break the encryption. If the software is not 100% secure, then it's not secure at all. A brute force attack can be tried on any encrypted data and it will succeed if the password is short and simple (dictionary word). This isn't the fault of the software, which can still be 100% secure. It's the fault of the user. Give yourself a eight or more alphanumeric password (more the better) and it will take a long time to break it, even with a supercomputer. This is what society has demanded to secure important data but our police state has now demanded we get rid of it so they can do what they feel is their job. Sorry, our security comes first.
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Mar 14, 2016, 11:34 AM
Absolutely, totally agree. When the "people" say "enough !!", it's time for the Government to back down. They serve us, NOT the other way around...unless we allow it.
Charles Martin
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Mar 14, 2016, 12:27 PM
Or unless the government simply chooses to ignore the people. I can think of a significant number of pressing issues where the opinion of the majority of people has been clearly expressed, but Congress (in particular) has chosen to either do nothing or go in exactly the opposite direction ... and they do this because they know, statistically, that voters won't remember or correctly assign blame, and will re-elect incumbents 99 percent of the time, even if said incumbent is demonstrably a clueless, blithering idiot.

If voters would increase the turnover rate for bad congresspeople dramatically, the principle obstacle on the path to good governance and progress -- Congress -- would start taking their jobs more seriously, and work more cooperatively. It's really pretty much that simple, in my own personal view.
Charles Martin
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