Technology

US, UK To Sign Treaty That Will Force Facebook To Share Chats Of Suspected Criminals

US, UK To Sign Treaty That Will Force Facebook To Share Chats Of Suspected Criminals

The new treaty that the US and UK governments will sign is aimed at curbing terrorism and child abuse. It will force social media platforms like Facebook to disclose messages from suspected terrorists, pedophiles and other serious criminals. ( Pixabay )

The United States and the UK government are expected to sign a new treaty next month in the hopes this could help curtail terrorism, child abuse and other criminal activities.

Treaty To Force Social Media Platform To Disclose Encrypted Messages

Once enforced, the treaty will force Facebook and other social media platforms based in either countries to share encrypted messages from suspected terrorists, pedophiles and other serious criminals.

"Social media platforms based in the U.S. including Facebook and WhatsApp will be forced to share users' encrypted messages with British police under a new treaty between the two countries," Bloomberg reported.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is anticipated to sign the "data access agreement" in October after years of intense lobbying by the UK to gain more direct access to data held on US-based social media platforms.

Social Media Linked To Terror Attacks

Patel has previously warned that end-to-end chat encryption helps terrorism, and that intelligence agencies need to have backdoors to investigate suspicious activities.

Plotters of the London Bridge terror attack, for instance, planned using the Facebook-owned messenger WhatsApp, which automatically encrypts messages once they are sent.

Treaty Stipulations

The treaty will give police in either country restricted access to user data from a tech company based in the other.

Security forces are currently only able to gain access to data if there is a need for an emergency disclosure due to an imminent threat to life.

Authorities can also request data under the mutual legal assistance treaty but this involves a highly bureaucratic process that can take up years.

The new treaty will allow police, prosecutors, and security services to submit requests for information to a judge, magistrate or other independent author, through a process that will be overseen by the investigatory powers commissioner.

Under the proposed arrangement, both governments will not investigate each others' citizens. The United States government will neither be able to use data from UK-based tech companies in death penalty cases unless UK authorities give their explicit permission.