FBI Pushing Tech Firms to Write Own Backdoors Into Encrypted Messaging Apps, Director Tells Congress

The US has on spurious grounds banned Chinese tech firms for ostensibly placing surveillance backdoors into their technology on behalf of the Chinese government. However, the head of the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation has revealed the law enforcement agency is pressuring tech firms to do just that.

During testimony to a US Senate panel on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau was working with tech giants and social media companies to monitor and crack down on “extremist” coordination in the wake of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former US President Donald Trump.

The federal police chief’s Tuesday testimony was his first appearance on Capitol Hill since the events of January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the national legislature and temporarily dispersed Congress in an attempt to reverse the outcome of the November 2020 election, which Trump lost. Four rioters and one Capitol Police officer died in the incident, which ultimately failed at its goal.

In the two months since the assault, the FBI has arrested more than 270 suspects, many on charges that include conspiracy and sedition. However, he noted on Tuesday that despite use of the term and enthusiasm for making it an official crime by many lawmakers, there is no specific charge for “domestic terrorism.” However, Wray did describe some of the insurrectionists as coming to Washington, DC, with “plans and intentions to engage in … domestic terrorism.”

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