Millions of Brits risk being banned from WhatsApp forever because of new laws – find out if it affects you
BRITS are on the verge of losing access to WhatsApp amid a row with the UK government.
WhatsApp, the UK’s most popular messaging app, uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE) – which is being reformed under new legislation.
End-to-end encryption is a security feature that encrypts messages so that even the company running the service cannot see the content.
As part of the Online Security Act, the government wants to give tech companies oversight of encrypted messages.
But WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart has said he would rather accept being blocked in the UK than weaken the apps’ security.
“Our users around the world want security – 98% of our users are outside the UK, they don’t want us to downgrade the security of the product,” he told BBC News.
“For example, we were recently blocked in Iran. We’ve never seen that in a liberal democracy.”
Although Cathcart is concerned that changing UK laws could encourage other countries to do the same, he and others in the tech sphere have refused to back down from their position.
“We will not lower the security of WhatsApp. We’ve never done that – and we’ve accepted being blocked in other parts of the world,” he continued.
“When a liberal democracy says, ‘Is it okay to scan everyone’s private communications for illegal content?’ this encourages countries around the world that have wildly different definitions of illegal content to propose the same.”
The move would cause a stir as WhatsApp is used by around one in seven people in the UK.
WhatsApp isn’t the only app that has threatened to leave the UK if the rule goes into effect.
Signal President Meredith Whittaker has previously told BBC News that she would “absolutely 100% go” and stop providing services in the UK if the bill required it to weaken the privacy of her encrypted messaging system .
Whittaker also tweeted that she looks forward to working with Cathcart and others to “push back” against the policy.
The government proposed the law to crack down on child abuse material on the internet.
“It is important that tech companies make every effort to ensure their platforms do not become a breeding ground for paedophiles,” the Home Office said.
The best tips and hacks for phones and gadgets
Looking for tips and hacks for your phone? Want to find these secret features in social media apps? We’ve got you covered…
Get the latest news about WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and other tech gadgets here.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at email@example.com
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/7597261/lose-access-to-whatsapp-forever-uk-encryption-row/ Millions of Brits risk being banned from WhatsApp forever because of new laws – find out if it affects you