WhatsApp opposes bill seeking to break end-to-end encryption on private messages

Meta-owned WhatsApp opposed new legislation by the United Kingdom seeking to break end-to-end encryption on private messaging citing a threat to the privacy of billions of people around the world. 

“Private messages are private. We oppose proposals to scan people’s private messages, and we’re proud to stand with other apps to defend encryption and your right to privacy,” wrote Will Cathcart, who is the WhatsApp head, on Twitter. 

The messaging app penned down a letter which opposes the legislation that “opens door to trying to force technology companies to break end-to-end encryption on private messaging services”. 

“The law could give an unelected official the power to weaken the privacy of billions of people around the world,” the letter stated. 

The letter, mutually signed by several other companies, said that any company, government or person should not have the power to read personal messages. The companies said they will continue to defend encryption technology. 

“We’re proud to stand with other technology companies in our industry pushing back against the misguided parts of this law that would make people in the UK and around the world less safe,” it said. 

They also urged the UK government to address the risks that Online Safety Bill poses to everyone’s privacy and safety. 

“Around the world, businesses, individuals and governments face persistent threats from online fraud, scams and data theft. Malicious actors and hostile states routinely challenge the security of our critical infrastructure. End-to-end encryption is one of the strongest possible defences against these threats, and as vital institutions become ever more dependent on internet technologies to conduct core operations, the stakes have never been higher,” it added. 

The letter said that the bill would open a door to routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance of personal messages, hence, compromising the security and privacy of users.  

The companies urged the government to ponder over the bill as
“weakening encryption, undermining privacy, and introducing the mass surveillance of people’s private communications is not the way forward.”

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