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Digital security groups call on Facebook to resist demands to undermine end-to-end encryption

Open Briefing and 110 other civil society organisations concerned with internet freedom and digital security have published an open letter to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to continue to increase the end-to-end security of Facebook’s messaging service.

The organisations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and Privacy International, have called on Facebook to resist demands from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia for ‘backdoors’ in the service, which will fundamentally weaken encryption.

The letter below represents a remarkable united front against government moves that would undermine the privacy and security of all users.

7 October 2019

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,


The organizations below write today to encourage you, in no uncertain terms, to continue increasing the end-to-end security across Facebook’s messaging services.

We have seen requests from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australian governments asking you to suspend these plans “until [Facebook] can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce public safety”. We believe they have this entirely backwards: each day that platforms do not support strong end-to-end security is another day that this data can be breached, mishandled, or otherwise obtained by powerful entities or rogue actors to exploit it.

Given the remarkable reach of Facebook’s messaging services, ensuring default end-to-end security will provide a substantial boon to worldwide communications freedom, to public safety, and to democratic values, and we urge you to proceed with your plans to encrypt messaging through Facebook products and services. We encourage you to resist calls to create so-called “backdoors” or “exceptional access” to the content of users’ messages, which will fundamentally weaken encryption and the privacy and security of all users.


7amleh-The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement
Access Now
ACM US Technology Policy Committee
ACT | The App Association
American Civil Liberties Union
Americans for Prosperity
Asociación Argentina de Usuarios de Internet – Internauta Argentina
Asociación Colombiana de Usuarios de Internet
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Argentina
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Association for Technology and Internet – ApTI Romania
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
Bolo Bhi
Bits of Freedom
Canadian Internet Registration Authority
Cedis/IDP – Centre for Law and Internet Studies
Centro de Ensino e Pesquisa em Inovação (CEPI), FGV Direito SP, Brasil
Center for Computer Security and Society, University of Michigan
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression (CELE), Universidad de Palermo
Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
CETyS at Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina
Coalizão Direitos na Rede
Code for Romania
Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Credo Global
Defending Rights & Dissent
Demand Progress Education Fund
Derechos Digitales, América Latina
Digital Empowerment Foundation
Digital Rights Watch
Državljan D
Electronic Frontier Finland
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontiers Australia
Electronic Privacy Information Center
EMPOWER Malaysia
epicenter.works – for digital rights
Fanstaum Foundation
Fight for the Future
Foundation for Media Alternatives (Philippines)
Free Press
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Fundación Datos Protegidos (Chile)
Fundación Karisma, Colombia
Future of Privacy Forum
Gambia YMCA Computer Training Centre and Digital Studio
Global Forum for Media Development
Global Partners Digital
Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights
Hiperderecho, Peru
Hub Women on Technology
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
Instituto Beta para internet e Democracia
Instituto de Referência em Internet e Sociedade (IRIS), Brazil
Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro (ITS)
International Media Support (IMS)
Internet Australia
Internet Freedom Foundation
Internet Society
Internet Society – Bulgaria
Internet Society UK England Chapter
ISUR, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia
IT-Political Association of Denmark
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet
Iuridicum Remedium, z.s.
Latin-American Privacy Association
LGBT Technology Partnership
Media Matters for Democracy, Pakistan
National Coalition Against Censorship
New America’s Open Technology Institute
Open Briefing
Open Rights Group
Open Net Africa
Open MIC (Open Media & Information Companies Initiative)
Paradigm Initiative
Pasifika Nexus
PEN America
Prostasia Foundation
Privacy International
R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
Ranking Digital Rights
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Restore The Fourth, Inc.
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)
SHARE Foundation
Simply Secure
South Pacific Computer Society
S.T.O.P. – The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
The Fourth Estate
Tor Project
Unwanted Witness Uganda
Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE)
Women Of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
Zenzeleni Networks NPC