WhatsApp may Re-think about its end-to-end encryption technology? Here is why
London, March 27: The British Police authorities investigating a deadly attack on British parliament made a new arrest on Sunday as officials set their sights on accessing WhatsApp, the heavily-encrypted messaging service that was used by the killer.
The arrest came 4 days after the attack that takes place in the shadow of the Britains’ Houses of Parliament, in which an apparently lone attacker killed 4 people and wounded 50 before being shot dead by the British Police.
After the Wednesday’s attack, in which 52-year-old Khalid Masood who deliberately ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge then stabbed a policeman just inside the gates of parliament, a dozen people have been arrested.
On the arrested people, nine have been released without any charge, while a man remains in custody and a 32-year-old woman has been released on bail.
The arrest came as the government confirmed Khalid Masood had used the WhatsApp messaging service, saying it was crucial that the security services be allowed to access the heavily-encrypted app.
Khalid Masood used the Facebook-owned service Whatsapp just minutes before started his assault, although it was unclear whether he sent any messages or just looked at the app- A Media reports said .
“Completely unacceptable” that police and security services had not been able to crack the heavily-encrypted service” while speaking to Sky News, British home secretary Amber Rudd said.
“You can’t have a situation where you have terrorists talking to each other — where this terrorist sent a WhatsApp message — and it can’t be accessed,” Amber Rudd said.
‘Don’t let them hide’
The British Police had on Saturday recognized they may never know why Khalid Masood, a Muslim convert with a violent criminal past, carried out the attack and that he probably acted alone, despite a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
Senior counter-terrorism officer Neil Basu said that “We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.”
Police believe that the killer man acted alone on that day, investigators are still trying to find out whether he was encouraged or directed by some others.
British home secretary Amber Rudd said in a separate interview with the BBC that “There should be no place for terrorists to hide”.
“We need to make sure that companies like WhatsApp — and there are lots of others like that — don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”
WhatsApp, the end-to-end encrypted instant messaging app provider, said it was “horrified” by the attack and was working with the investigating authorities without saying whether it would change its encryption policy on the light of these developments.
A spokeswoman of the WhatsApp told to news agency AFP that: “We are horrified at the attack carried out in London earlier this week and are cooperating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations,”
Must be accessible:
British home secretary Amber Rudd admitted that the ‘end-to-end encryption’ was essential to cyber security, to ensure that business, banking, and other transactions were safe — but said it must also be accessible.
“It’s not ill-matched. You can have a system whereby they can build it so that we can have access to it when it is absolutely obligatory,” Rudd told Sky News.
Amber Rudd said she did not yet plan to force the industry’s hand with new legislation, but would meet key players on Thursday to discuss this issue, as well as the “constant battle” against extremist videos posted online.
Technology firms and social media players are coming under increasing pressure from extremists groups using their websites, applications, and technology to communicate diehard contents.
Last year, United States authorities fought a legal battle with technology giant Apple to get it to unlock a smartphone used by one of the shooters in a 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) own technical experts ended up breaking into the device.
Internet giant Google has faced a boycott by some companies whose advertisements appear alongside with extremist content on its internet platforms, particularly its video-sharing site YouTube.