Reuters report that the U.S. government is trying to force Facebook to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app.
The U.S. Government is saying that this needed so that law enforcement may listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe.
Reuters’ story is based on Reuters’ sources, which included three people briefed on the case.
The story is putting to the fore, once again, the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance.
The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but the three people told Reuters that Facebook is contesting the U.S. Department of Justice’s demand.
The judge in the Messenger case heard arguments on Tuesday on a government motion to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Facebook and the Department of Justice declined to comment.