Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) continues his legacy to put in his usually unasked for opinion on topics he knows nothing about by slamming WhatsApp's decision to implement encryption, which makes it impossible for anyone except the intended recipient to read your messages.
The Republican believes the encryption “is an open invitation to terrorists, drug dealers and sexual predators to use WhatsApp's services to endanger the American people” — because everyone knows that only terrorists, rapists and pedophiles need online privacy, right?
“The WhatsApp and Facebook decision to add end-to-end encryption to all of WhatsApp’s services with no secure method to comply with valid search warrants continues a dangerous trend in the tech and data world,” he said in a statement released Wednesday. “We cannot allow companies to purposefully design applications that make it impossible to comply with court orders.”
The Facebook-owned messaging app introduced the latest change on Tuesday.
“We should have the same rules and expectations for tech and data companies that we do for telecom companies and banks: that the presumption of privacy contain narrow exceptions for court ordered searches related to law enforcement and national security,” the senator added. “I strongly urge WhatsApp and Facebook to reevaluate their decision before they help facilitate another terrorist attack.”
At a time when tech giants and government agencies are in embroiled in a heated debate over user data privacy, it appears that Cotton is not the only one opposing WhatsApp’s decision. Members of Congress are reportedly expecting a new legislation on encryption, co-authored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-Va.), which will “pierce” through encryption and allow law enforcement agencies to read protected communications with a court order.
Meanwhile, some of Cotton’s colleagues believe the app took a powerful, yet important, step to protect people’s privacy.
“While some continue to spread fear about modern technology, the fact is strong encryption is essential to Americans' individual security,” Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D) said in a statement to Reuters. “Attacking the use of strong encryption only empowers criminals, foreign hackers, and predators who will take advantage of weak digital security.”
Actually, Cotton’s stance on the issue isn't very surprising, considering the fact he strongly supported the FBI during its conflict with Apple Inc. over the encrypted smart phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.