What just happened? Messaging platforms WhatsApp and Signal have said they would refuse to weaken their encryption in the UK and would walk away from the country if forced to do so. The ultimatums come as the UK government prepares to debate the Internet Safety Act, which seeks to ban end-to-end encryption in the country.
The WhatsApp Chairman Will Cathcart made the remark during a visit to the UK to discuss internet regulations with lawmakers.
“It’s cool to think about. There’s no way to change it in just one part of the world. Some countries have chosen to ban it: that’s the reality of shipping a safe product. We’ve been banned recently in Iran, for example. But we’ve never seen a liberal democracy do that,” Cathcart said Watchman.
“The reality is that our users around the world want security. Ninety-eight percent of our users are outside the UK. They don’t want us to reduce product security, and as a straightforward matter, it would be an odd choice for us to choose to lower product security in a way that affects 98% of users.” “.
It’s not just WhatsApp that threatens to leave the UK if it is Internet Security Bill It forces companies to weaken encryption. Meredith Whitaker, President Signalsaid last month that the company would “100 percent walk away completely rather than undermine the trust people place in us to provide a truly private means of communication.”
While the bill doesn’t specifically mention encryption vulnerabilities, it could. It requires companies to use “certified technology” to scan users’ messages for child sexual abuse material, or CSAM, something many believe would be impossible without removing end-to-end encryption.
If WhatsApp refuses to comply with the bill, parent company Meta could face fines of up to 4% of its annual sales. Meta reported $116 billion in revenue last year. The signal will face the same penalty for non-compliance.
The situation reminds us Apple plans to scan all iPhone and iCloud accounts in the US for CSAM in 2021. This caused so much criticism and controversy that Apple decided to scrap the idea a year later.
One possible solution, Cathcart says, would be for the bill to explicitly state that end-to-end encryption should not be removed — something found in similar legislation outside the UK. “There could be more procedural safeguards so that this does not happen independently as a decision,” Cathcart said. He also wants private messages to be completely excluded from the Online Safety Act.
Back in October, OnlyFans He said It wanted to move away from its image as a paid porn site, which is likely a result of Online Safety Act requirements for technology companies to protect their users from “legal but harmful” content. OnlyFans will be happy when this section is removed from the bill in November.
The Internet Safety Bill is expected to return to Parliament this summer.