According to report from Sky News, popular messaging app service WhatsApp earlier this year denied a UK Government request to create a backdoor in order to access encrypted messages. Reportedly, the British Government asked WhatsApp in a meeting during the summer to create some solutions that would allow them access — better known as a hidden backdoor.
Sky News reports that 80 percent of investigations into terrorism and serious crime are affected by encryption. The source states that “It is crucially important that we can access their communications — and when we can’t, it can provide a black hole for investigators.” Law enforcement has seen increased frustration due to these barriers and inability to access messages by extremists.
WhatsApp on its website issued a statement, saying that “we carefully review, validate, and respond to law enforcement requests based on applicable law and policy, and we prioritize responses to emergency requests.”
According to Sky News, UK intelligence officials believe that reaching a compromise-agreement is possible with these tech companies. Finding a middle ground that doesn’t hurt either side is very much possible.
Many major tech companies have expressed opposition into building backdoors because it would undermine their services’ security. Services like WhatsApp use end-to-end encryption that scrambles messages through code. Unfortunately for law enforcement, WhatsApp can only hand over metadata like the account name and email address associated with it and can’t see the actual messages being sent.