Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Government wants access to WhatsApp after attack

By Arj Singh

Encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp should build back doors into their systems so intelligence agencies can read suspected terrorists' messages during investigations, the Home Secretary has said.

Amber Rudd said she supports end-to-end encryption, offered by the likes of WhatsApp, but added that security services must be able to eavesdrop on messages when they have a warrant.

It comes amid reports that terrorist Khalid Masood used WhatsApp seconds before launching Wednesday's attack at Westminster Bridge - but agencies are unable to see what was in his communication.

Ms Rudd also insisted that the likes of Google, which runs the social video sharing platform YouTube, and smaller sites such as WordPress, must realise that they are now publishing - rather than technology - companies and should take more responsibility for taking down extreme material.

The Home Secretary left the door open to changing the law if necessary.

But she said she would rather see an industry-wide board doing it independently, as the best people to take action are those who understand the technology and the "necessary hashtags".

On encrypted messaging services, she told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide.

"We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other."

Belfast Telegraph