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WhatsApp: the British Government must respect the encryption of messages in the online security bill

WhatsApp urges the UK Government to review its online security bill, to respect end-to-end encryption of private messaging services and “guarantee the human right to privacy” since, otherwise, it supposes a “unprecedented threat” for the safety of British citizens and around the world.

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The instant messaging platform has warned about the dangers that can be caused by the online security bill that the British Government is studying to applybecause it gives rise to trying to force technology companies to break end-to-end encryption in private messaging services.

This has been transferred by the person in charge of WhatsApp in Meta, will cathcartthrough a post on the platform’s blog, which is also signed by the top executives of other instant messaging platforms such as Signal, Wire or Viber, among others.

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Through this open letter, messaging technology companies stress that “no company, government or person” should have the power to read personal messages and therefore defend encryption technology. In this sense, they declare their opposition to the “wrong parts” of the law and ask the UK Government to address the risks involved and rewrite the text to ensure the protection of end-to-end encryption.

As WhatsApp has explained, the users of these instant messaging applications, both individuals and companies and even governments, they face threats on a daily basis such as online scams, fraud or data theft through infections or ‘malware’ that is transferred through the messages. To do this, malicious actors “regularly” challenge the security of messaging application infrastructures.

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In this framework, WhatsApp ensures that end-to-end encryption is “one of the strongest possible defenses against these threats” and that, therefore, it should be protected and maintained at all times.

However, the company criticizes that the current wording of the law can be interpreted to eliminate encryption, causing institutions such as the UK communication regulator (OFCOM) to “force” the scanning of private messages “compromising the privacy of all users” and creating an “unprecedented” threat to the safety of UK citizens and those they communicate with around the world.

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For its part, the British Government, although it has recognized the possible privacy risks that this law implies, has conveyed that its “intention” is not to be interpreted as forcing the elimination of end-to-end encryption, as indicated by WhatsApp.

“The British Government must urgently reconsider the bill. Weakening encryption, undermining privacy and introducing mass surveillance of people’s private communications is not the way to go.”concludes the open letter.

Source: Elcomercio

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