Facebook, WhatsApp will be forced to share encrypted messages with UK police: Report

This new rule is part of a new treaty between the two countries, which will reportedly be signed next month.


Social media platforms based in the US, including Facebook and WhatsApp, will have to share encrypted messages with UK Police, according to a report by Bloomberg.

This new rule is part of a new treaty between the two countries, which will reportedly be signed sometime next month.

In accord with the treaty, all US-based social media firms will have to share information to support investigations into individuals suspected of serious criminal offenses including terrorism and pedophilia.

Facebook, however, as opposing the new rule. “We oppose government attempts to build backdoors because they would undermine the privacy and security of our users everywhere. Government policies like the Cloud Act allow for companies to provide available information when we receive valid legal requests and do not require companies to build back doors,” Facebook told Bloomberg in a statement.

 Facebook, WhatsApp will be forced to share encrypted messages with UK police: Report

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We have also reached out to Facebook to learn if this new rule would have any effect in India.

The Indian government has long been pushing WhatsApp to start tracing the origin of a message. Last month, Tamil Nadu advocate general said that end-to-end encryption is not essential to the platform. “End-to-end encryption was introduced to WhatsApp later. Therefore, it is not essential to the platform. It was a business decision. It is a question of business policy versus law,” E Manoharan, the Additional Government Pleader for the State of Tamil Nadu had said.

WhatsApp, however, the platform has always denied it, claiming that it would violate user privacy.

WhatsApp currently does not store data on messages. However, if it accedes to India’s demand, it will need to redesign its entire architecture. Such a move could result in a backlash from privacy activists around the world who are worried that traceability will gag free speech on the internet, as governments could use the power to snoop on citizens.

WhatsApp has repeatedly been stressing that the importance of the company’s support for encryption and how important it is for the product. A few months ago, the Indian government also asked WhatsApp to digitally fingerprint every message sent on its platform without breaking its encryption.

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