Wednesday, March 22, 2023

WhatsApp chief says security law could lead to shutdown of its service in UK – Usky News

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular messaging service, could be forced to stop offering its services in Britain if the country passes the current draft of online safety legislation, its chief said on Thursday.
WhatsApp chief says online security bill before parliament could effectively make privacy features of service illegal Will Cathcart told reporters at his parent’s London office on Thursday, meta Platforms Inc. Messenger will not change its encryption standards, he said.
“It is a global product; There’s no way to change it in just one part of the world.” cathcart Said. “For example, we have recently been blocked in Iran. We have never seen a liberal democracy doing this.”
The bill, introduced by former prime minister Boris Johnson, is an attempt to force internet companies to remove illegal content such as child sexual abuse or terrorism. However, critics, including Meta, have stated that scanning for such content would be inconsistent with end-to-end encryption which is a common form of security. messenger apps,
Last month, President of the Signal Foundation Meredith Whitaker told the BBC that its messaging service would leave the UK if the Online Safety Bill forced it to weaken its privacy protections.
The bill does not explicitly describe a deterrence mechanism, but calls for fines of up to 10% of annual global revenue if companies do not comply. It could also bring criminal charges against executives if they do not provide regulator Ofcom details on how they run their services upon request.
“If you see a lot of gray areas with a lot of rhetoric against encryption, there’s a right thing to be concerned about,” Cathcart said.
The Department of Science, Information and Technology said it is on track to pass the bill in this parliamentary session, which will run till the second half of this year. It referred questions on encryption to the Home Office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cathcart, who is based in California, rushed to London to lobby against the bill amid the leak of WhatsApp messages between the former health secretary and ministers, including Johnson.


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