Facebook officials from the US recently had a meeting with Delhi Police on 1st February 2019. The meeting continued for 4 hours. After discussing it, Facebook agreed to share private chats with Delhi Police. Yes, You read that right. Although this happened a month ago, many of us didn’t know about it. So, I decided to write a post about it for you.
Facebook currently refrains from providing the details of personal chats to the officers.
In the meeting between Delhi Police Cyber Wing with Facebook officials, the decision took place. This information is according to a report by Indian Express via Financial Express. The interaction was headed by Facebook India Trust and Safety Head, Satya Yadav. Along with him, there was Facebook’s special team from the US.
In the meeting, Delhi Police shared their problems arising due to restricted access to chats. They shared their experiences that how in many cases, accessing chats could’ve solved a lot of cases pretty much easily. In addition to that, restricted access often leads to the escape of criminals.
The Pros & Cons of this decision
A Police personnel told them that while probing some kidnapping for ransom cases, they need to scan chat of the victim to gather clues. So undoubtedly, giving access to private chats could help Police in catching criminals. Even better, this could result in stopping some crimes before even it takes place. And prevention is better than cure, right?
Among unnumbered amount of crimes happening daily, very few are confidential and covert. Local criminals often use popular social media platforms to communicate between themselves or threatening someone. Hence, by gaining access to private chats, Police will be able to easily catch them up.
There are a lot of eve-teasing and stalking cases which could also be stopped before they grow to an non-undo able state.
This is another threat to privacy added to Facebook’s pouch. Private chat doesn’t necessarily always mean they are of criminals. We all have our own personal chats. And what’s the point of personal chats? They’re Personal. Otherwise, we could have done everything in groups and comments!
Another con is that Police may use the feature for their own personal reasons. Why would I like to share my images shared in private chat with someone else, in this case, Police? What if Police gains access to my chat and shares with some unauthorized guy for whatsoever reason?
A sigh of relief
What will happen to the chats which Police gets access to? Will they store them? Will the user be notified about his/her chat being exposed to Police?
On hearing their concerns, Facebook assured them that they will provide such details only after considering the gravity of the given case.
There are thousands of questions waiting for answers. I believe that if Facebook agrees with Delhi Police, we should get proper notification. Not only the legal information about how much information Facebook will share, but also a notification about when Police is going to access our information.
In doing so, a user will know when his chats are exposed. Ideally, there should be a proper law for any user wanting justification from cyber wing if/when Police read his chats.
To know what Facebook knows about you, check here.