Numerous reports over the last few days show that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is aiming to pressure a judge into forcing Facebook to decrypt the messages of a trial suspect allowing it to wiretap calls. Facebook had previously refused.

On August 14, the judge in the case heard opening arguments regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to have Facebook held in contempt of court for refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

Digital Trends

The case is pointed towards US wanting to wiretap communications of the MS-13 gang; but if approved will open the door for more legal arguments to allow the US Gov/DoJ to easily wiretap & spy on other peoples encrypted communications.

Ordinary Facebook text messages, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Gmail, and other services are decrypted by the service providers during transit for targeted advertising or other reasons, making them available for court-ordered interception.

End-to-end encrypted communications, by contrast, go directly from one user to another user without revealing anything intelligible to providers.

Facebook says it can only comply with the government’s request if it rewrites the code relied upon by all its users to remove encryption or else hacks the government’s current target, according to the sources.


In 2006, a federal court in Washington DC, US – ruled that the current law applied to telephone companies allowing police to eavesdrop calls, also applied to internet service providers. However, “end-to-end” encrypted services (like Signal, Facebook Messenger, voip calls) that are sent over the ISP’s are not as yet covered by this law, so the police cannot officially wiretap conversations. All that could change in the coming weeks – a law in the US could impact encrypted internet communications for the rest of the world.