Signal CEO Signals Signal Will Exit The UK If Law To Weaken Encryption Passes

Enlarge / Signal app on a phone. Getty Images reader comments

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The nonprofit responsible for the Signal messenger app is prepared to exit the UK if the country requires providers of encrypted communications to alter their products to ensure user messages are free of material that’s harmful to children.

“We would absolutely exit any country if the choice were between remaining in the country and undermining the strict privacy promises we make to the people who rely on us,” Signal CEO Meredith Whittaker told Ars. “The UK is no exception.”

Whittaker’s comments came as the UK Parliament is in the process of drafting legislation known as the Online Safety Bill. The bill, introduced by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is a sweeping piece of legislation that requires virtually any provider of user-generated content to block child sexual abuse material, often abbreviated as CSAM or CSA. Providers must also ensure that any legal content that can be accessed by minors—including self-harm topics—is age appropriate.

E2EE in the crosshairs

Provisions in the bill specifically take aim at end-to-end encryption, which is a form of encryption that allows only the senders and recipients of a message to access the human-readable form of the content. Typically abbreviated as E2EE, it uses a mechanism that prevents even the service provider from decrypting encrypted messages. Robust E2EE that’s enabled by default is Signal’s top

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