UK calls for access to encrypted communication

  • Roman Šulc
  • 28.3.2017 10:46

On March 23 British press informed that UK's Home Secretary Amber Rudd called for security services to be provided access to encrypted communication in applications like WhatsApp. The minister pointed out since terrorists use similar platforms (Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was communicating via WhatsApp imminently prior to his action) the situation, where police are not able to access the content of the messages, is unacceptable. The Home Secretary also stated, that she do not wish to force the companies by a new legislative rather and proposed to establish an industry-wide board, which should boost tech companies' resistance against misuse of their platforms by terrorists. According to its own statement, WhatsApp is cooperating with the authorities in the investigation of the Westminster attack. 

The matter of access to the encrypted communication (and the issue of online propaganda on social media) is a long-term divisive topic in public-private relations. The most notorious case was the conflict between Apple and the FBI, as the tech company refused to give the federal agency access to San Bernardino attacker's iPhone. The efforts on the European level toward stricter regulation of services which enable end-to-end encryption are represented mainly by France and Germany. 

About author: Roman Šulc


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