Pressure mounts for a “backdoor” to encrypted communication

MARCELO SAYAO

A photo made available 19 July 2016 shows a mobile phone featuring the WhatsApp messenger application, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 17 December 2015. Reports on 19 July 2016 state that a judge in Brazil has ordered Brazilian mobile phone carriers to block the free messenger application WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, the third such ban in eight months. The ban has reportedly been imposed because of Facebook's alleged refusal to share private user information with Brazilian authorities for a police investigation.

What’s up with WhatsApp?


Following the Westminster terrorist attack, encrypted WhatsApp messages became the target of criticism by the British Home Secretary Amber Russ, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and Prime Minister Theresa May.

The debate, however, is no longer about security alone, but about the new delineation of private and public. Increasingly, an argument is being made for warrantless access to encrypted communication. Two arguments are most prevalent: terrorism and financial regulation.
Terrorism
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