UK's Online Safety Bill Takes Aim at End-to-End Encryption

The law could give an unelected official the power to weaken the privacy of billions of people around the world.

UK's Online Safety Bill Takes Aim at End-to-End Encryption
  • Seven secure messaging apps, including Signal and WhatsApp, wrote an open letter to out that the UK’s Online Safety Bill could threaten end-to-end encryption.
  • "As currently drafted, the Bill could break end-to-end encryption, opening the door to routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance of personal messages of friends, family members, employees, executives, journalists, human rights activists and even politicians themselves, which would fundamentally undermine everyone’s ability to communicate securely."
  • "The Bill provides no explicit protection for encryption, and if implemented as written, could empower OFCOM to try to force the proactive scanning of private messages on end-to-end encrypted communication services – nullifying the purpose of end-to-end encryption as a result and compromising the privacy of all users."
  • "In short, the Bill poses an unprecedented threat to the privacy, safety and security of every UK citizen and the people with whom they communicate around the world, while emboldening hostile governments who may seek to draft copy-cat laws."
  • "Both Signal and WhatsApp have said that they will cease services in the UK rather than compromise the security of their users world-wide."

Open Letter / Archive
Online Safety Bill / Archive
Scheier Blog Post / Archive