WhatsApp gets powerful new security boost. Governments led by the U.S., U.K. and Australia are battling the industry to open up “warrant-proof” encryption to law enforcement agencies. The industry argues this will weaken security for all users around the world. The debate has polarized opinion and is intensifying.
The global coronavirus pandemic has distracted everyone, everywhere, but it has not deferred the emotive debate between lawmakers and the technology industry over the future of end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp has proven the most willing, alongside parent Facebook, to fight for encryption in the courts. And so the platform will be massively buoyed by two surprise boosts this week. And that is equally important for the 2 billion users who rely on the platform to secure their messaging. On the assumption you’re among that number, this should really matter to you.
While this debate has been raging for a year, the current “EARN-IT’ bill working its way through the U.S. legislative process is the biggest test yet for the survival of end-to-end encryption in its current form. In short, this would enforce best practices on the industry to “prevent, reduce and respond to” illicit material. There is no way they can do that without breaking their own encryption. QED.
Once the platforms introduce backdoors, those arguing against such a move say, bad guys will inevitably steal the keys. Lawmakers have been clever. No mention of backdoors at all in the proposed legislation or the need to break encryption. If you transmit illegal or dangerous content, they argue, you will be held responsible. You decide how to do that. Clearly there are no options to some form of backdoor.
EFF describes this as “a major threat,” warning that “the privacy and security of all users will suffer if U.S. law enforcement achieves its dream of breaking encryption.” And while all major tech platforms deploying end-to-end encryption argue against weakening their security, Facebook has become the champion-in-chief fighting against government moves, supported by Apple and others.
Source – Forbes
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