Whatsapp Terror Row: 'Amber Rudd doesn't seem to realise risk of opening up encryption'

'Amber Rudd doesn't seem to understand risks of opening up encryption', says tech specialist Tom Cheesewright

The Home Secretary has called for WhatsApp and other tech firms to allow security forces to bypass encryption

Monday, March 27, 2017

A leading tech specialist has warned of the risks Amber Rudd is creating in calling for firms like Whatsapp to allow security services to bypass message encryptions.

It has emerged that Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood had used Whatsapp to send a message at 2:37pm on Wednesday, mere minutes before he executed his attack which left four dead and up to 40 injured. 

The app's messages are encrypted, in order to protect user privacy. The Home Secretary has called for the app, which is owned by Facebook, and other services to open themselves up to intelligence services, and suggested it is unacceptable for apps to offer any hiding place for terrorists.

Tom Cheesewright, a technology specialist, told James Max: "It comes back to this idea of the security services spying on all of us in case one of us turns out to be a terrorist, or are they targeting people based on intelligence?

"Amber Rudd doesn’t seem to understand that by opening up the cloud side of communications for interception by security services, you’re basically opening it up for anyone.

“I think the argument should always be: use intelligence to determine risks, and then get the appropriate authority to spy on them.

"Don’t blanket spy on everyone in the hope of catching someone out."