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The broken record: Why Barr’s call against end-to-end encryption is nuts

Enlarge / The US, UK, and Australia want Facebook to hold off on end-to-end encrypting Messenger until they have a way to inject themselves into the conversation. (credit: picture alliance / Getty Images)

Here we go again.

US Attorney General William Barr is leading a charge to press Facebook and other Internet services to terminate end-to-end encryption efforts—this time in the name of fighting child pornography. Barr, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and United Kingdom Secretary of State Priti Patel yesterday asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hold off on plans to implement end-to-end encryption across all Facebook Messenger services “without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens.”

The open letter comes months after Barr said in a speech that “warrant-proof” cryptography is “extinguishing the ability of law enforcement to obtain evidence essential to detecting and investigating crimes” and allowing “criminals to operate with impunity, hiding their activities under an impenetrable cloak of secrecy.” The new message echoes a joint communiqué issued by the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (the “Five Eyes”) from July, which stated:

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