US government trying to force Facebook to wiretap Messenger app: report

US government trying to force Facebook to wiretap Messenger app: report
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The U.S. government is reportedly trying to force Facebook to break the encryption in its Messenger app to assist law enforcement's efforts in a criminal investigation. 

Reuters reported on Friday that three people briefed on the case said that the government is seeking Facebook's help in an attempt to listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in an ongoing investigation. 

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The case is currently proceeding under seal in a federal court in California, Reuters reported. 

Reuters noted that Facebook has contested the Department of Justice's (DOJ) demand. 

DOJ declined comment when reached by The Hill.

The judge in this case heard arguments earlier this week on a motion from the government to hold the tech giant in contempt of court for refusing its request, according to Reuters.

The issue involving the Messenger app, Facebook's instant messaging service, is part of an investigation of the MS-13 gang in Fresno, Calif., according to Reuters. 

The impact of the upcoming ruling in this case could potentially have large implications regarding whether companies can be forced to alter their products to grant surveillance. 

Reuters reported that Facebook is asserting that Messenger voice calls are encrypted end-to-end, which means that only two parties can have access to a discussion.