Facebook Avoided DOJ Wiretap of Messenger Calls


As a part of the case that involved the members of the MS-13 gang, the US Department of Justice has been urging Facebook to get access to Facebook Messenger voice calls. It even tried to hold Facebook in contempt of court last August when the social media giant pushed back on a wiretap order.

However, Reuters reported that according to sources who are familiar with the matter, a District Court judge in the United States ruled in favor of the Facebook. But since the proceedings are sealed, the reason behind the said ruling is not yet clear.

Court filings have revealed that the government was able to intercept the phone calls and texts in Messenger during its investigation, however, three Messenger voice calls of interest were not accessible. Also, while federal law demands that telecommunications firms should provide law enforcement with access to phone calls whenever they are presented with a wiretap order, internet-based services are not covered under the said law.

Facebook argues that Messenger fell is considered to be within that exemption. Apparently, it emerged to be successful.

The move comes after a number of attempts by the FBI and the DOJ to gain access to mobile devices, requesting various companies such as Apple to create backdoors through which they could acquire encrypted information. In one particularly significant instance, the FBI took Apple to court because of its refusal to unlock an iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter — an action that the DOJ later said was considered to be premature.

Earlier this month, sixteen suspected members of the MS-13, including the individuals who are involved in the Messenger voice calls, were indicted.