According to a recently unearthed FBI training paper, US law enforcement has limited access to the content of encrypted communications transmitted through secure messaging platforms like iMessage, Line, and WhatsApp, but not messages sent through Signal, Telegram, Threema, Viber, WeChat, or Wickr.
The document, obtained earlier this month after Property of the People, a US nonprofit dedicated to government transparency, filed a FOIA request, appears to contain training advice for what kind of data agents can obtain from encrypted messaging service operators and the legal processes they must go through.
The document, which is dated January 7, 2021, doesn’t contain any new information, but it does a decent job of summarizing what type of information the FBI can now access from each of the mentioned services.
Previous news reports have already exposed that the FBI has legal levers at its disposal to obtain various types of personal information, even from secure messaging providers that often boast about providing increased privacy to their users, as Forbes reporter Thomas Brewster said on Twitter earlier this week.
While the document indicates that the FBI is unable to access encrypted conversations sent through some platforms, the other types of information obtained from providers may still be useful to authorities in other areas of their investigations.
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What is a FOIA request – 00:00
Is SMS Secure – 00:38
FBI Document Leak – 01:32
WhatsApp – 02:11
iMessage – 04:45
Telegram – 06:26
Signal – 09:05
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