WhatsApp head writes an open letter slamming the UK’s on-line security invoice. Full textual content

WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, has written an open letter towards the controversial invoice the place he seeks to handle the dangers that the On-line Security Invoice poses.

The letter dated April 17, 2023 has been signed by CEOs and CTOs of different social media firms. They’re Matthew Hodgson, CEO, Component, Alex Linton, Director, OPTF/Session, Meredith Whittaker, President, Sign, Martin Blatter, CEO, Threema, Ofir Eyal, CEO, Viber and Alan Duric, CTO, Wire.

Right here’s the total textual content of the open letter

Once we share what we’re engaged on right here it is often about new options or merchandise we’re constructing. Right now we’re writing a couple of troubling growth in the UK that everybody must find out about.

The UK authorities is at present contemplating new laws that opens the door to making an attempt to drive expertise firms to interrupt end-to-end encryption on personal messaging companies. The regulation may give an unelected official the facility to weaken the privateness of billions of individuals around the globe.

We don’t suppose any firm, authorities or individual ought to have the facility to learn your private messages and we’ll proceed to defend encryption expertise. We’re proud to face with different expertise firms in our business pushing again towards the misguided components of this regulation that will make folks within the UK and around the globe much less secure.

To anybody who cares about security and privateness on the web.

As end-to-end-encrypted communication companies, we urge the UK Authorities to handle the dangers that the On-line Security Invoice poses to everybody’s privateness and security. It’s not too late to make sure that the Invoice aligns with the Authorities’s said intention to guard end-to-end encryption and respect the human proper to privateness.

World wide, companies, people and governments face persistent threats from on-line fraud, scams and knowledge theft. Malicious actors and hostile states routinely problem the safety of our important infrastructure. Finish-to-end encryption is without doubt one of the strongest doable defenses towards these threats, and as very important establishments change into ever extra depending on web applied sciences to conduct core operations, the stakes have by no means been greater.

As at present drafted, the Invoice may break end-to-end encryption,opening the door to routine, normal and indiscriminate surveillance of non-public messages of buddies, relations, workers, executives, journalists, human rights activists and even politicians themselves, which might basically undermine everybody’s means to speak securely.

The Invoice offers no express safety for encryption, and if carried out as written, may empower OFCOM to attempt to drive the proactive scanning of personal messages on end-to-end encrypted communication companies – nullifying the aim of end-to-end encryption consequently and compromising the privateness of all customers.

Briefly, the Invoice poses an unprecedented menace to the privateness, security and safety of each UK citizen and the folks with whom they impart around the globe, whereas emboldening hostile governments who could search to draft copy-cat legal guidelines.

Proponents say that they respect the significance of encryption and privateness whereas additionally claiming that it is doable to surveil everybody’s messages with out undermining end-to-end encryption. The reality is that this isn’t doable.

We aren’t the one ones who share considerations in regards to the UK Invoice. The United Nations has warned that the UK Authorities’s efforts to impose backdoor necessities represent “a paradigm shift that raises a number of great issues with doubtlessly dire penalties”.

Even the UK Authorities itself has acknowledged the privateness dangers that the textual content of the Invoice poses, however has stated its “intention” isn’t for the Invoice to be interpreted this fashion.

World suppliers of end-to-end encrypted services can not weaken the safety of their services to swimsuit particular person governments. There can’t be a “British web,” or a model of end-to-end encryption that’s particular to the UK.

The UK Authorities should urgently rethink the Invoice, revising it to encourage firms to supply extra privateness and safety to its residents, not much less. Weakening encryption, undermining privateness, and introducing the mass surveillance of individuals’s personal communications will not be the best way ahead.

Signed by those that care about preserving our conversations safe:

Matthew Hodgson, CEO, Component

Alex Linton, Director, OPTF/Session

Meredith Whittaker, President, Sign

Martin Blatter, CEO, Threema

Ofir Eyal, CEO, Viber

Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp at Meta

Alan Duric, CTO, Wire

April 17, 2023

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