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Better to get banned than let UK crack encryption – WhatsApp – RT World News

Messenger chief says it would be ‘very difficult’ to comply with UK’s Online Safety Bill

It would be better to ban WhatsApp instant messaging in Britain than to make communications between users accessible to authorities, said Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp at Meta.

His remarks came after the Online Security Bill, which would require WhatsApp to compromise its end-to-end encryption, was reintroduced in UK parliament last week after a five-month delay. End-to-end encryption makes it impossible for third parties or WhatsApp itself to read private messages.

“Bill provides technology advisories requiring communications providers to remove end-to-end encryption – to break it,” Cathcart told The Telegraph on Saturday.

“The harsh reality is that we offer a global product. It would be a very difficult decision for us to make a change where 100% of our users would reduce their security,” Cathcart said, adding that the company would rather face the risk of being kicked out than reduce its privacy protections.

We believe that the best compromise is to offer a secure service to everyone who has access to it – and to accept that in some countries we are banned.

The Online Safety Bill was first proposed by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019 and has gone through several changes. The government argues that the law is necessary to track down terrorists and child molesters.

In a statement to UK media, a government spokesperson said that “End-to-end encryption should not hamper efforts to catch the perpetrators of the most serious crimes.”

According to the government website, “last resort,” the bill would allow telecoms regulator Ofcom to force platforms to “to use highly accurate technology to scan public and private channels for child sexual abuse material.”

WhatsApp is banned or restricted in China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

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