The UK’s Online Safety Bill is due to come into effect by the end of this year, but its rules conflict with WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption feature. The messaging app’s leaders are refusing to weaken their privacy standards when 98 percent of its users are located elsewhere.
For most users of the platform, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption feature is a benefit.
It acts as a guaranteed layer of security, ensuring that only those involved in a chat can access messages, images, or other files shared within the space. Even the people working for WhatsApp cannot peer into this information.
But there’s been some recent controversy surrounding it as the deadline for the UK’s Online Safety Bill approaches. As it turns out, the pending legislation is wholly misaligned with WhatsApp’s privacy feature.
Once implemented, the bill will require digital communication platforms operating in the UK to use ‘accredited technology’ to scan users’ messages for child sexual abuse material.
For WhatsApp, this would mean installing software that would break its end-to-end encryption promise – all for the sake of remaining available for British users. WhatsApp’s reaction to the request? Sounds like a you problem.
Employees of the internationally popular messaging platform are not budging, either. Its top leaders say they would rather discontinue services to UK users than remove or weaken its encryption services.