Privacy SOS

ACLU asks DOJ for records about encryption technologies

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Justice, seeking information about the department’s efforts to compel technology companies to provide access to encrypted messages. The request was filed on April 5, 2016, the very same day that WhatsApp, a messaging service used by one billion people worldwide, implemented end-to-end encryption. The ACLU’s request seeks records concerning government efforts to access encrypted messages from WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, Whisper System’s Signal app, and Telegram. 

Here’s what the request seeks, specifically:

(1) All motions, legal briefs, applications, responses, objections, court orders, court opinions, or other legal filings related to any effort to compel WhatsApp to provide access to encrypted messages sent using its messaging service, including but not limited to the case described in the March 12, 2016 New York Times article.

(2) All motions, legal briefs, applications, responses, objections, court orders, court opinions, or other legal filings related to any effort to compel Apple to provide access to encrypted messages sent using its iMessage service, including but not limited to the Maryland case “involving guns and drugs” described in the September 7, 2015 New York Times article.

(3) All motions, legal briefs, applications, responses, objections, court orders, court opinions, or other legal filings related to any effort to compel any mobile communications provider-including but not limited to WhatsApp, Apple, Signal, and Telegram Messenger-to provide access to end-to-end encrypted messages.

Stay tuned for the government’s response.

© 2018 ACLU of Massachusetts.