WhatsApp must be accessible to authorities, says Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd has called for the police and intelligence agencies to be given access to WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging services to thwart future terror attacks, prompting opposition politicians and civil liberties groups to say her demand was unrealistic and disproportionate.
The home secretary said it was “completely unacceptable” that the government could not read messages protected by end-to-end encryption and said she had summoned leaders of technology companies to a meeting on Thursday 30 March to discuss what to do.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Rudd refused to rule out passing new legislation to tackle encrypted messaging if she did not get what she wanted.
But she stressed it was her desire to persuade internet and social media companies to cooperate voluntarily with the government on this and also the posting of extremist material online.
Rudd added: “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.
“We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”
She indicated that she hoped to be able to win them over without resorting to legislation.
“These people have families, have children as well,” she said. “They should be on our side, and I’m going to try to win that argument.”
Her call came after it emerged that police were investigating reports that Khalid Masood, the British extremist who killed four people outside parliament before he was shot dead, had used WhatsApp a few minutes before he launched his attack on Wednesday.
Police have said they believe Masood was essentially a “lone actor”, though counter-terrorism officers continue to search for more details about his background and associations.
Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman and a former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police, said that giving the security services access to encrypted messages would be “neither a proportionate nor an effective response” to the Westminster attack.
“These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society,” he said. “By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would be playing into their hands.
“My understanding is there are ways security services could view the content of suspected terrorists’ encrypted messages and establish who they are communicating with.”
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/26/intelligence-services…

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