Chat app Signal will exit the United Kingdom if compelled to introduce a backdoor to its encryption, as reiterated by Signal’s president Meredith Whittaker. This week, the UK Parliament passed the controversial Online Safety Bill, which could require chat apps to implement client-side scanning, enabling the monitoring of all messages sent by users.
UK Home Office's recent attack on e2e encryption moves into the realm of baseless propaganda, diverging significantly from much of the rest of UK gov & from established expert consensus, complete w media salvo
Let's review, it's important to recognize what they're doing…1/ pic.twitter.com/7g5nubvggM
— Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith) September 20, 2023
On X, Whittaker strongly criticized the British government, accusing it of engaging in “baseless propaganda” and deliberately portraying end-to-end encryption as something that jeopardizes children’s safety. The British government also refers to “technical solutions,” but it points to a non-peer-reviewed document authored by two British government employees discussing speculative systems, Whittaker points out.
Signal has repeatedly stated in the past that it will leave the UK if required to modify the encryption it uses to grant authorities access to users’ messages. Whittaker reaffirms this stance in an interview with TechCrunch, saying,
We would leave the UK or any other jurisdiction if it comes down to the choice between compromising our encryption and betraying people who rely on us for their privacy, or leaving.