Trump officials step up attacks on Facebook encryption

The Trump administration on Friday escalated its attacks on Silicon Valley’s use of encrypted messaging, with the FBI director calling Facebook’s plans to implement the technology a “dream come true for predators and child pornographers.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a speech that Facebook’s effort to become a more privacy-focused platform threatens to upend the company’s status as one of law enforcement’s top allies in rooting out child sexual abuse online.

“Facebook would transform from the main provider of child exploitation tips to a dream come true for predators and child pornographers, a platform that allows them to find and connect with kids and like-minded criminals with little fear of consequences, a lawless space created not by the American people, or their elected officials, but by the owners of one big company,” Wray said.

His comments came at a summit hosted by the Department of Justice, where law enforcement officials warned of what they see as the danger posed by “warrant-proof” encrypted services. The technology allows users to send and receive messages shielded from surveillance, and the contents are inaccessible by the host companies, meaning authorities can’t compel access to them even when equipped with court orders.

Officials are singling out Facebook for its plans to incorporate encryption for all of its various platforms that are used by more than 2 billion people around the world.