NEW YORK: British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has targeted Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption by saying that the feature offers terrorists a safe way to communicate before carrying attacks, the media reported.
Local media have reported that British-born Khalid Masood sent an encrypted message moments before killing four people last week by ploughing his car into pedestrians and fatally stabbing a policeman as he tried to get into parliament in an 82-second attack that struck terror in the heart of London.
But while saying she was “calling time on terrorists using social media as their platform”, Rudd also appealed for help from the owners of encrypted messaging apps such as Facebook’s WhatsApp, backing away from seeking to introduce new legislation.
Asked for her view on companies which offer end-to-end encrypted messages, Rudd said: “It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”
“We need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.”
According to a report published in the Telegraph, Rudd also said the country would also need assistance in combating terror from other technology giants, including Google, Twitter, and blogging platform WordPress.
Last year, US tech giant Apple denied decrypting the iPhone that the terrorist behind the 2015 San Bernardino attack used as the company “believed deeply that people in the US and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.”