In 2018, a federal judge rejected the government’s attempt to force Facebook to decrypt voice calls. Now, a host of privacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are demanding that this ruling is unsealed, saying it could set a dangerous privacy precedent if tech companies don’t know when it’s necessary to hand over user info.
For its part, the government is claiming that unsealing this ruling could compromise ongoing criminal investigations. But the privacy advocates aren’t buying it, claiming it could hold the key to understanding the relationship between giant tech companies and federal officials.
“The sealed opinion may purport to define how far the government can push third parties to facilitate government surveillance of networks the public understands and relies on to be secure,” the ACLU wrote in conjunction with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Other technology companies have a right to know the law in this area, to inform their own practices in responding to law enforcement requests.”
It’s hard to see why this information is being kept under wraps right now; even an appeals Judge agreed. The public deserves to know the full extent of Facebook’s legal obligation to the government — and, in turn, just how private their information really is.
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