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An FBI document disclosed the data provided by the messaging apps. WhatsApp is the one that spreads the most

An FBI document disclosed the data provided by the messaging apps. WhatsApp is the one that spreads the most
An FBI document disclosed the data provided by the messaging apps. WhatsApp is the one that spreads the most

An FBI document about the Bureau’s access possibilities to major messaging applications shows the data that can be obtained through the procedures activated by a legal process. iMessage and WhatsApp are the only major apps on the list that deliver message content as well. WhatsApp does it almost in real time for some data.

The document was obtained from the non-profit organization Property of the People, which is responsible for verifying the transparency of the American government by checking certain documents obtained by the various agencies through a regular Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It is a type of request established since 1967 that gives citizens the right to obtain access to the documents of any federal agency.

The main messaging apps that the FBI can access

After obtaining the document, dated January 7, 2021, Property of the People published it on its website and delivered it to the Rolling Stones newspaper.

The document is titled “Legal Access” and the header describes “The ability of the FBI to legally access the content and metadata of secure messaging apps“. The document is not classified, but is listed as” for official use only “and” for law enforcement only “.

Open original

The FBI document obtained from Property of the People

By continuing to read, you will learn that as of November 20, 2020, the FBI has the ability to legally access the main messaging applications listed. It also turns out that the agency complains that data is being provided to law enforcement agencies not in real time and may impact investigations due to delivery delays. Among these apps, WhatsApp is an exception, which, on the other hand, for some data is able to offer delivery to the agency in almost real time.

WhatsApp can “talk” to the FBI every 15 minutes. It’s the only one

Again, the document has precisely the specification about WhatsApp. It was already known that Apple can provide full text to US law enforcement if messages are sent via iMessage and backed up to iCloud.

Open original

source: Apple

iCloud gives the same possibility of reading messages to the FBI also in the case of WhatsApp and always in the event that the messaging app owned by Meta uses iCloud as a chat backup tool. However, as the document is dated January 7, 2021, this possibility should be prevented today by the new backups with end-to-end encryption introduced by WhatsApp in October.

What is new is that for the legal control of WhatsApp printouts, which in fact is indicated as an exception in the summary of the document, can send the sender and recipient of each message to the FBI every 15 minutes. She is the only one to do it.

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