WhatsApp CEO: We will not let governments read user texts

WhatsApp CEO: We will not let governments read user texts

WhatsApp has released a statement saying it will not comply with the regulations outlined in the UK's Online Safety Bill. WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has told the BBC that the Meta-owned company will not reduce security under government order. 

The Online Safety Bill aims to detect legitimate but harmful activity, abuse, and harassment. However, due to the uncertain political situation in the UK, the passage of the legislation has been postponed. The bill would also allow the government to detect photographs showing child sexual abuse by scanning private messages, which violate end-to-end encryption (E2EE) policies of many social media platforms, including WhatsApp.

Cathcart told BBC that:

“Client-side scanning cannot work in practice. If we had to lower security for the world, to accommodate the requirement in one country, that...would be very foolish for us to accept, making our product less desirable to 98% of our users because of the requirements from 2%."

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He claimed that the bill provides platforms to read user posts directly or indirectly and concludes by saying, "I don't think people want that." 

On the other hand, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has taken a critical stance. Andy Burrows, Head of Children's Online Safety  Policy at  NSPCC, tweeted the following:

Cathcart added that hundreds of illegal child abuse photos were discovered on WhatsApp. He added, "there are techniques that are very effective and haven't been adopted by the industry and don't require us to sacrifice people's privacy, we report more than almost any other internet service. In the world".

Source: BBC