Social media giants will be made to hand over encrypted WhatsApp messages in fight against terrorism – The Sun

SOCIAL media giants will be made to hand over encrypted WhatsApp messages in the fight against terrorism.

Tech firms will be bound by court decisions to disclose information in a UK-US deal.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will next month sign the agreement — which also targets paedophiles — that compels firms including Facebook to hand over messages.

Requests will still have to be approved by a judge, magistrate or other “independent authority”.

It comes after Whitehall sources revealed that WhatsApp refused pleas from security chiefs when Khalid Masood, 52, used the service two minutes before killing five in the Westminster Bridge terror attack in 2017.

Facebook was blasted for not handing over messages sent by Stephen Nicholson, 25, who murdered Lucy McHugh, 13, in Southampton. He was jailed for life in July.

Richard Walton, the Met’s ex-head of counter-terrorism, said the deal would make a big difference. He said: “US tech giants have been inadvertently putting a veil over serious criminality and terrorism.”

But Tory MP David Davis said: “The simple truth is, I’m afraid, that the US has a habit of using to the maximum extra-territorial laws to promote its own causes.”

As part of the deal, no information from the UK could be used in possible US death penalty cases.

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