WhatsApp is one of the most popular cross-platform messaging services on the planet. It processes more than a billion messages every single day. As you can probably imagine, it often has to deal with governments and law enforcement agencies that want access to user data. The Facebook-owned company reportedly rejected a request from the UK government that wanted it to build a backdoor to access encrypted messages.

Sky News reports that the UK government “demanded” that WhatsApp develop a way that provides them with access to encrypted messages this summer. This is commonly referred to as a backdoor. WhatsApp reportedly rejected the request.

A security source cited in the report says that the inability to access terrorists’ encrypted conversations are creating a “black hole” for the security services. All WhatsApp conversations are encrypted.

“It is crucially important that we can access their communications – and when we can’t, it can provide a black hole for investigators,” the source adds.

The scribe understands that WhatsApp does co-operate with law enforcement agencies to provide metadata that it does hold. The metadata includes the name of an account, when it was created, the last seen date, the IP address, and the associated email address.

WhatsApp does say that “We are prepared to carefully review, validate and respond to law enforcement requests based on applicable law and policy”. The company maintains that it can’t provide law enforcement the data that it doesn’t collect to begin with, such as the contents of messages.

UK intelligence officials are reportedly of the view that a compromise could be possible and the intelligence community remains firm in its aspiration to obtain unencrypted content of messages under a proper warrant.

However, companies like WhatsApp have been opposed to building backdoors as they say it will weaken security for everyone. A compromise seems unlikely when both parties are unwilling to budge from their positions.

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Encryption, Whatsapp and _cold. Source: news.sky

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