03 April, 2017
Home secretary Amber Rudd has called it "completely unacceptable" that police are unable to access the encrypted WhatsApp messages of the man who killed four people in Westminster on Wednesday.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd appeared on BBC and Sky News urging WhatsApp along with other encrypted services to let intelligence services and police, trying to carry out lawful eavesdropping, to access their platforms.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it is "completely unacceptable" for messaging services to provide end-to-end encryption that means security services can not listen to plots being discussed. Other communication platforms like Signal also offer fully encrypted communications, meaning even the companies themselves can't read people's messages.
Britain on Sunday insisted that its security services must have access to encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, revealing that it was used by the killer behind the attack at the country's parliament.
"Compelling companies to put back doors into encrypted services would make millions of ordinary people less secure online", Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, a British non-profit, said. Federal employees in the United States anxious about their agencies losing funding and facing gag orders under president Donald Trump have also turned to encrypted messaging since his inauguration.
"There should be no place for terrorists to hide", Ms Rudd said in a separate interview with the BBC.
Further, Rudd talked about a "terror manual" that took just two minutes to find via a Google search, and said that tech companies are "now publishing companies"..
In a statement, WhatsApp itself said that it was "horrified" by the events in London and would be "cooperating with law enforcement" as events proceed.
In the US, Apple fought the FBI's request for the passcodes needed to unlock an iPhone that had been used by one of the perpetrators in the 2015 extremist attack in San Bernardino, California.
"The U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too risky to create", said Apple CEO Tim Cook, at the time.
"We need the help of social media companies, the Googles, the Twitters, the Facebooks of this world".
A top British official on Sunday asked tech companies to help anti-terror investigators and break their own encryption in cases of national security.
The British government is putting renewed pressure on Facebook's most popular messaging service, saying its intelligence services should get access to WhatsApp messages following the London attacks last week. She was just talking about "carefully thought-through, legally covered arrangements", she said.