British security officials have revealed that Westminster Bridge terror attacker Khalid Masood made series of encrypted messages on popular messaging platform, Whatsapp, before carrying out the attack, and have urged the social media company to give them back-end access to encrypted messages in order to avoid future attacks.
Masood drove a rented SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before smashing it into Parliament’s gates and rushing onto the grounds, where he stabbed a policeman to death before he was shot dead, an attack which lasted just 82 seconds.
U.K Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday urged those behind WhatsApp — and similar apps to make their back end encryption accessible to security agencies, a plea that resembled that made by the FBI following the San Bernardino terror attack in December 2015 where they asked Apple to help unlock one of the terrorist’s iPhones. But such a move will be very unlikely by Whatsapp or other social media platforms, as they believe in customer confidentiality and privacy.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said;
“We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp — and there are plenty of others like that — don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other,” she said.
“This terrorist sent a WhatsApp message and it can’t be accessed.”
According to Rudd, if there is no change in the system, terrorists would be able to communicate with each other without fear of being overheard even in cases where a legal warrant has been obtained.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu revealed British security officials may never be possible to fully determine Masood’s motives.
“That understanding may have died with him,” Basu said Saturday night as police appealed for people who knew Masood or saw him to contact investigators.
“Even if he acted alone in the preparation, we need to establish with absolute clarity why he did these unspeakable acts, to bring reassurance to Londoners.”