U.K. Wants WhatsApp to Make Encrypted Chats Available to Police

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced the United Kingdom government’s intention to persuade popular messaging service Whatsapp to provide a way for the authorities to read encrypted messages, following last week’s attack in London.

Although Rudd didn’t claim it would look to force tech companies to provide a backdoor, civil liberties groups have called the proposals unrealistic and overreaching.

The attack, which took place on March 22 and saw many people injured and several killed, involved just one man, though many related arrests have been made since. However, the lone attacker was found to have used Whatsapp half an hour before the attack began, which has prompted the authorities’ increased scrutiny of the messaging application.

The home secretary attacked the idea of encryption on weekend television, saying “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.”

“We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other,” she said.

She later evoked ideological language, saying the tech companies behind such platforms should “be on our side,” and because they have children and families, they should understand why opening up encryption is necessary.

Although Rudd did go on to admit that the best people to discuss such matters with were the technology heads themselves, there has been some concern over her wording which suggested a lack of understanding of the core technological issues presented by her proposals.

 

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