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WhatsApp Boss Highlights Global Repercussions Of UK Online Safety Bill

  • Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: METAWhatsApp head warned the U.K. that moves to disable encryption in a relaunched online safety bill would threaten the security of the government's communications and encourage autocratic controls.

  • In an interview with the Financial Times, Will Cathcart insisted on alternative techniques to protect children using the app without ditching the underlying security technology.

  • The U.K’.s bill, which the government argues will make the internet safer, prompted global debate over whether to proactively force tech companies to remove harmful content on their networks.

  • Tech companies claim it is not technically possible for encrypted messaging apps to scan for material such as child pornography without undermining the entire network's security.

  • Cathcart said the U.K.'s ultimate position on the issue would have a global impact as governments worldwide will do precisely the same.

  • "We're in an era on the internet where cyber attacks are going way up, especially from hostile nation-states. And so the idea that now is a moment to weaken security, I just think it's very, very wrong," he added.

  • The report noted that the so-called "end-to-end" encryption, where only the sender and receiver can view the messages, has become a recurring issue between law enforcement and civil liberties campaigners from Washington and Brussels to New Delhi.

  • Cathcart, credited for turning WhatsApp into a profitable business, sees further opportunities for monetization by allowing consumers to make payments to businesses.

  • "There's a lot of countries in the world where there's more people using WhatsApp than there are people using a bank account," Cathcart said. "Our business is growing very, very quickly. I'm pretty optimistic about where it will be in a couple of years."

  • The Big Tech companies, including Meta, Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGLGoogle are amid global regulatory scrutiny over throttling competition by their dominance.

  • Additionally, cleaner contemporaries like non-profit-backed encrypted messenger app Signal and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen launched "Beyond The Screen" nonprofit are creating additional pressure on the Big Tech-owned social media platforms.

  • Price Action: META shares traded lower by 0.38% at $134.18 in the premarket on the last check Wednesday.

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