bsharma writes from an article on the New York Times: WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, allows customers to send messages and make phone calls over the Internet. In the last year, the company has been adding encryption to those conversations, making it impossible for the Justice Department to read or eavesdrop, even with a judge's wiretap order. [As recently as this past week, officials said,] the Justice Department was discussing how to proceed in a continuing criminal investigation in which a federal judge had approved a wiretap, but investigators were stymied by WhatsApp's encryption. (WhatsApp uses Signal software developed by Open Whisper Systems.) "WhatsApp cannot provide information we do not have," the company said this month when Brazilian police arrested a Facebook executive after the company failed to turn over information about a customer who was the subject of a drug trafficking investigation. "The F.B.I. and the Justice Department are just choosing the exact circumstance to pick the fight that looks the best for them," said Peter Eckersley, the chief computer scientist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that focuses on digital rights. "They're waiting for the case that makes the demand look reasonable."
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