In California, A US district court judge speaks in favor of Facebook by rejecting a joint federal and state task who forced Facebook to wiretap Messenger app voice calls in a closely watched case, according to the reports of Reuters.
The case was first brought in August when the Department of Justice hold Facebook in contempt of court for not complying to the wiretap Messenger requests that needed for an ongoing investigation into the MS-13 gang in which 16 suspected members were indicated there. Messengers calls are proceeds through a cellular data connection or Wi-Fi, so that’s why they are not subjected to wiretap laws just like the regular calls.
The court filings have shown that the Government was able to intercept calls and Messenger texts during its investigation, but they unable to reach three of the calls who the Government claims to be of their interest. In this regard, an affidavit filed by the FBI agent publicly in the Fresno criminal proceedings said that at the time of arrest, law officers were unable to trace Messenger calls.
The federal law requires the telecommunication companies to provide law enforcement with access to phone calls and give a wiretap order, but Facebook successfully was covered by that exemption.
The initial report of Department of Justice that Facebook removes the encryption for Government investigation, the case is still under seal and no public documents or record are available as to why judge’s reasoning for ruling in Facebook favor. However, there will consequences if the court hadn’t ruled in favor of Facebook, they have protected user’s privacy in future cases as well. Previously, FBI took Apple too in the court over refusing to unlock an iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter.
In the coming time, technology companies might be involved in a clash with law enforcement agencies over privacy and encryption.