According to WhatsApp’s parent company Meta, the company will leave the UK market if the upcoming Online Safety Bill weakens its encryption.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart slammed the law as the most critical set of online rules in the Western world in a briefing with reporters.
“For example, we recently blocked Iran. But the Cathcart report says we’ve never seen a liberal democracy do that”.
Debate on Liberal Democracy
WhatsApp and other messaging platforms may need help providing end-to-end encryption in the future thanks to the bill, says Cathcart.
“It’s challenging to imagine we’re having this conversation about a liberal democracy that might work around people’s ability to communicate privately,” he told reporters.
According to the Online Safety Bill, tech companies must scan users’ messages for child sexual abuse material or CSAM using “accredited technology.”
Security researchers believe that such measures can be introduced by breaking end-to-end encryption.
They were removed after facing criticism from security researchers, but in 2021, Apple introduced plans for CSAM to scan users’ messages.
Fine on Big Tech
Big Tech is also liable for the Online Safety Bill, and firms that violate the rules can be fined up to 18 million pounds, or 10 percent of their annual global revenue, whichever is higher.
New criminal offenses for falsifying and destroying data and tougher and swifter criminal sanctions for technology bosses are among the new provisions of the law.
The online safety bill would allow search engines, require social media platforms, and other apps and websites to protect children, combat illegal activity and allow people to post their content to adhere to their stated terms.
” Through this Bill will strengthen people’s rights to express themselves freely online, and social media companies will not be allowed to restrict free speech. According to former Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries, users will now have the right to appeal if their posts have been taken down unfairly.