ORG led coalition call on UK government to protect encrypted messages

26/06/2023 | Open Rights Group

A coalition of academics, cyber experts and over 80 civil society organisations from 23 countries led by the Open Rights Group and European Digital Rights (EDRi) have written an open letter to the UK government to express their concern about the proposed powers in the Online Safety Bill

The letter highlights the potential threat to the security and privacy of messaging app users, such as WhatsApp and Signal, which billions of people use every day to connect securely. The letter notes that removing the word “privately” from the draft legislation could help preserve the privacy of users and prevent the UK from becoming the first liberal democracy to require routine scanning of private chat messages. It also warns that such measures could damage the country’s free market by forcing companies that value privacy to leave the UK.

A separate Open Rights Group post responds to the Home Secretary's opinion piece in The Telegraph claiming that it is possible to detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in encrypted environments while still maintaining user privacy. Despite the government's claims, technology experts and industry partners have repeatedly said there is no evidence to suggest that this is technically possible.

In a related post, The Register reports that Apple has joined the growing group of tech companies calling on the UK to revise the Bill in order to safeguard strong end-to-end encryption.

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