Friday, March 10, 2023

According to WhatsApp's CEO, a UK safety law could force the company's service to be discontinued

WhatsApp head says safety law could shut down its service in UK

 WhatsApp, the world's most famous informing administration, could be compelled to quit offering its administrations in the UK assuming the nation passes the ongoing draft of a web-based security regulation, its head said Thursday.

Will Cathcart, the chief executive officer of WhatsApp, spoke to reporters on Thursday at the London offices of its parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., and stated that the messenger would not alter its encryption standards in response to the Online Safety Bill that is currently before Parliament.

"It is a worldwide product; Cathcart stated, "There is no way to change it in just one part of the world." For instance, we were recently blocked in Iran. A liberal democracy has never done that.

The bill, which was introduced by the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aims to force internet companies to remove content that promotes terrorism or child sexual abuse. However, critics such as Meta have stated that scanning for such content would be incompatible with the end-to-end encryption that messenger apps typically provide as a form of security.

Meredith Whittaker, president of the Signal Foundation, told the BBC last month that her messaging service would leave the UK if the Online Safety Bill required it to weaken its privacy protections.

A blocking mechanism is not explicitly mentioned in the bill, but companies that do not comply could face fines of up to 10% of their global annual revenue. Executives could also face criminal charges if they fail to provide the regulator Ofcom with information on how they operate their services upon request.

Cathcart stated, "The right thing to do is to worry if you see a lot of gray area combined with a lot of rhetoric against encryption."

The Department of Science, Information, and Technology stated that the bill is on track to be passed during this year's parliamentary session, which runs through the second half. It referred inquiries regarding encryption to the Home Office, which did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

In the wake of a scandal involving leaked WhatsApp messages between Johnson and ministers, Cathcart, a California resident, arrived in London to oppose the bill.

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