Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen Clarifies Her Views to UK ParliamentNovember 9, 2021
Frances Haugen, one of the recent whistleblowers about Facebook gave testimony to the UK parliament.
The parliament invited Haugen to clarify views about end-to-end encryption after the Telegraph published the report couching plan by Facebook to extend the usage of the e2e encryption as “controversial.”
An editorial spin by the Telegraph aligned with the UK government’s long-running pressure on tech giants. The government wants them not to expand the use of strong encryption to allow ordering of the platforms to decrypt and surrender message content data.
The UK newspaper sought to link Haugen′s public concerns about the lack of accountability from Facebook to the anti-e2ee agenda by the UK government. The interview claimed she suggested using e2e encryption may disrupt efforts to protect the Chinese state from injecting Uighur dissidents′ devices with malware.
Haugen told UK lawmakers that her views had been misrepresented. She claimed to “support e2ee open source encryption software” and use it daily. She said her ACTUAL question was if Facebook can be trusted to implement e2ee encryption, given that it does not allow a full external code inspection like other fully open source alternatives.
“This is a reason why it is essential for public oversight of Facebook,” Haugen informed UK parliament’s joint committee scrutinizing a draft online safety legislation. She sought to be clear that she was not against end-to-end encryption in Messenger but believes the public has a right to know what it means and if Facebook will live up to its claim because “if they do not do that, lives are in danger.” The former staffer at Facebook said she does not trust the tech giant is telling the truth and is concerned that it might misconstrue the product. These concerns maker her believe there is a need for regulatory oversight.
In her additional remarks to the parliamentary committee, Haugen summarized her position further by saying she was concerned that “the constellation of factors relating to Facebook makes it more necessary for a public oversight on how they do encryption. Things like access to the directory and those amplification settings.”
She stated her second concern was about security because users might think they are using end-to-end encryption products when Facebook has a different interpretation of what an open source product can do. In her additional remarks, Haugen claimed that “we can look at an open source product and ensure that the can has what the label says.”
The testimony also suggested Facebook AIs were unlikely to distinguish dialectical distinctions and meaning nuances between UK and US English, let alone scores of language in countries where the tech firm directs far fewer resources.
Haugen came to the limelight due to a series of stories about the Facebook business after leaking internal documents and research reports to the media. It includes a ‘Facebook Files’ story on the toxicity of Instagram for teens.