WhatsApp says it will leave the UK rather than weaken encryption under Online Safety Bill

From The Verge: The head of WhatsApp says the messaging app will depart the UK if it’s forced to weaken its encryption standards under the country’s upcoming Online Safety Bill.

WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart briefed reporters on Thursday (as reported by The Guardian, Politico, and Wired), criticizing the legislation as the most concerning set of online regulations in the Western world.

“We’ve recently been blocked in Iran, for example. But we’ve never seen a liberal democracy do that,” said Cathcart, reports The Guardian. “The reality is, our users all around the world want security. Ninety-eight per cent of our users are outside the UK. They do not want us to lower the security of the product, and just as a straightforward matter, it would be an odd choice for us to choose to lower the security of the product in a way that would affect those 98% of users.”

WhatsApp’s warning follows similar threats from another encrypted messaging app, Signal. The president of Signal, Meredith Whittaker, said last month that the company “would absolutely 100 percent walk [away from the UK] rather than ever undermine the trust that people place in us to provide a truly private means of communication.”

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