Ahead of Hearing, ACLU Urges Nevada Court to Protect Americans’ Right to Private and Secure Communications

Forcing Meta to Roll Back End-to-End Encryption Protections Would Make Internet Less Safe, Experts Say

Affiliate: ACLU of Nevada
March 19, 2024 4:00 pm

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LAS VEGAS – The Clark County Eighth District Court in Nevada is hearing arguments tomorrow in Nevada v. Meta, a case that experts warn could impact the future of end-to-end encryption across the country. End-to-end encryption means that no one but the people in a conversation—not the service provider, criminals, domestic abusers, foreign despots, nor law enforcement— will be able to decipher or access the contents of messages.

In a friend-of-the-court brief submitted last week, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Nevada, and a diverse group of digital rights organizations and Internet communications companies urged the court to reject the Nevada attorney general’s request to stop Meta from offering end-to-end encryption as a default for Facebook Messenger users in Nevada and under 18, a demand that would leave children and their families vulnerable to cyberattacks and security breaches.

“In today's world our most sensitive information can be found all over the internet, making it ripe for exploitation by a range of actors who do not have our best interests at heart,” said Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “It is imperative that our data remain private and secure, especially for young users who may be especially vulnerable to any third-party’s prying eyes.”

Nevada’s Attorney General is arguing that end-to-end encryption is harmful because it impedes some criminal investigations involving crimes against children. However, as the brief explains, end-to-end encryption prevents many crimes from occurring in the first place, while also protecting people from corporations selling their information and from government surveillance and abuse. Further, law enforcement can and does conduct investigations involving encrypted messages, including by obtaining evidence directly from the victims and the perpetrators. Blocking the use of end-to-end encryption, therefore, would undermine public safety, making the children of Nevada, and the people they communicate with, more vulnerable online, not less.


A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.

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