UK home secretary Amber Rudd (pictured) reiterated her call for the government to be able to access encrypted messages on services including WhatsApp, stating such services are being used by criminals.
In a speech delivered during the Conservative Party conference, Rudd said the UK government knew “end-to-end encryption services like WhatsApp are being used by paedophiles,” various news reports stated.
Rudd made the comments two months after she came under fire for criticising end-to-end encryption because it helps terrorists.
WhatsApp hit back: “Child exploitation has absolutely no place on our service, which is why we work with law enforcement to identify these accounts and block them,” a company representative said.
Security Minister Ben Wallace, who oversees British counter-terrorism and communications data legislation, echoed Rudd’s sentiments when he said: “We see on a daily basis that end-to-end encryption protects paedophiles. It protects organised crime too, but it is very disturbing in my job when I know two paedophiles are talking and we think they are doing something about snatching a child but we can’t get into these communications”.
Rudd also called on tech giants including Facebook , Google, Microsoft and Twitter to counter extremist material.
The home secretary defended a self-confessed lack of knowledge about how encryption works: “I don’t need to understand how encryption works to understand how it’s helping the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that”.
In September, reports stated WhatsApp refused to create a backdoor for the UK government to access encrypted messages sent via the app.