WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has refused to comply with a new UK cybersecurity bill that bans peer-to-peer encryption technology.
Speaking during his visit to the United Kingdom to meet lawmakers to discuss the new law, Cathcart called the law the most dangerous law currently being discussed in the Western world, according to The Guardian newspaper.
Cathcart confirmed that the company will not respond to government requests for decryption, stressing that app users around the world want security and privacy.
He said it was unwise to lower the app’s security in a way that affected those users, adding that 98% of the app’s users were outside the UK, referring to the possibility of the company leaving the UK market if the law were activated.
Commenting on the internet security bill, Meredith Whitaker, head of encrypted messaging app Signal, recently said that the possibility of stopping his service in the UK would be 100% certain if the UK government enforced him to comply with the decryption law, and asked him to examine the messages.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging system in the UK, with more than 7 out of 10 adults with an internet connection using it, according to communications regulator Ofcom.
By law, the government or the UK Broadcasting Authority may require WhatsApp to implement content moderation policies that cannot be enforced without transcription.
And in the event that a company refuses to comply with this, it can be subject to fines of up to 4% of the company’s total annual income per company owning the application, unless the company completely leaves the UK market.
The British government says the new law aims to protect children from harmful online content and increase the digital safety of users.
Source: British media