WhatsApp CEO refuses to relax encryption

Whatsapp CEO rejects relaxation of popular messenger’s end-to-end encryption in favor of law enforcement.

Will Cathcart, the CEO of WhatsApp, is firmly against client-side scanning of private messages by the popular messenger. Despite increasing pressure from European politicians, he rejects adding a backdoor to WhatsApp for law enforcement agencies. This would severely damage the security of the encryption and thus the privacy of the users.

WhatsApp CEO defends encryption of private messages

According to a BBC interview with WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, the company has absolutely no intention of using the Bow down EU and UK plans to break the messenger’s encryption to give authorities access to text messages.

As a result, WhatsApp does not intend to comply with the UK Online Safety Act . Cathcart sees the encryption of private messages as a great asset, which he does not want to damage for any government in the world.

Online security law ends up in a technical dead end

The passage of the Online Safety Act in Great Britain has been postponed several times due to the prevailing political situation there. In the coming autumn, however, the topic will be back on the agenda.

Similar to the EU Commission’s draft law we reported on recently, online safety law in the UK sometimes aims to that indicate child sexual abuse and report it to the local authorities.

However, this results in the technical requirement to relax the end-to-end encryption that is prevalent in modern messengers such as WhatsApp, making it less secure close. If implemented correctly and cleanly, this makes it impossible even for the communication service provider to access the chat content. Access by law enforcement agencies is also technically excluded.

Client-side scanning of all messages is not an option

As Cathcart explained to the BBC, “client-side scanning may not work in practice.” For a service that reaches millions of people worldwide, it is important to enforce the same data protection standards in every country. He is sure that people don’t want WhatsApp to read all their messages.

If we can ensure security for the entire world to meet one country’s needs, that would be… pretty stupid of us to accept that we’re making our product for 98% of our users less desirable to meet the needs of the remaining 2%,” added Cathcart.

Too dr Monica Horten, Policy Manager of the Open Rights Group, firmly rejects the bill. She states: “Client-side scanning is a form of mass surveillance – it’s a deep invasion of privacy..”

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