WhatsApp and Signal Refuse to Compromise Encryption, Risk Ban in UK

Is it time to sign off for WhatsApp and Signal from the United Kingdom (U.K.)? The major reason reported the issue of encryption.

According to recent reports, both WhatsApp and Signal are resisting the U.K. government’s proposal to undermine the encryption of their messaging services. The government intends to prevent the transmission of child abuse material via these platforms, but this move would also compromise the privacy of all users.

The latest update from BBC reveals that WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, is ready to ban his app entirely from the U.K. instead of giving in and weakening the end-to-end encryption that protects users’ messages.

Will Cathcart said to reporters,

“Our users all around the world want security – 98% of our users are outside the U.K., they do not want us to lower the security of the product,”

He added more,

“And the app would rather accept being blocked in the U.K.”

In a firm stance against the U.K. government’s proposal to weaken the encryption of messaging services, WhatsApp’s leader, Will Cathcart, highlighted that the company had already faced a similar situation in Iran. This served as a reminder of the repercussions of such a decision and the possible fate of WhatsApp in the U.K.

Signal, another popular messaging app, could join WhatsApp in this fight. The company’s president, Meredith Whittaker, has publicly stated that Signal will not compromise its encryption and will resist any governmental pressure to do so. In fact, Whittaker stated in an interview with the BBC that Signal would “without a doubt” exit the U.K. if required to weaken its encryption.

Although, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) believes that encryption is not a big issue in terms of privacy. However, Richard Collard added, “experts have demonstrated that it’s possible to tackle child-abuse material and grooming in end-to-end encrypted environments.”

The government believes that Online Safety Bill (OSB) does not intend to prohibit end-to-end encryption. However, some people have expressed concern that this bill may lead to widespread surveillance of British citizens.

Written by Muhammad Tanveer