Internet Law

FBI asks to wiretap Facebook Messenger calls

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Federal prosecutors want Facebook to allow them to wiretap the voice calls made through the social media platform’s Messenger app.

In an investigation of MS-13 gang members, prosecutors entered a motion asking a federal district court to hold Facebook in contempt when the company declined to comply with their wiretapping request.

Reuters broke the story. Ars Technica and The Verge also have coverage.

“Currently, there is no practical method available by which law enforcement can monitor these calls,” FBI Special Agent Ryan Yetter wrote in an affidavit submitted on Aug. 30.

Based on two anonymous sources, Reuters reported that U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Oberto of U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California ruled in favor of Facebook on the question of whether the company should be forced to alter their software to allow the wiretapping of Messenger voice calls.

Court documents indicate that the FBI was running traditional wiretaps and receiving texts sent via Messenger.

Since the FBI’s denied request, 16 members of MS-13 have been indicted due to the investigation for murder, firearm violations and other crimes.

The case is ongoing.

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