Sen. Cotton: WhatsApp Encryption Is ‘Open Invitation to Terrorists’

WhatsApp Inc.’s decision to institute end-to-end encryption on its app is an “open invitation” for criminals to use the company’s messaging platform, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Wednesday.

“This is an open invitation to terrorists, drug dealers, and sexual predators to use WhatsApp’s services to endanger the American people,” Cotton said in a statement. “We cannot allow companies to purposefully design applications that make it impossible to comply with court orders.”

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook Inc., announced yesterday that it would use end-to-end encryption technology to secure all communications on its messaging app, which has more than 1 billion users. The company is the latest firm to adopt the technology, as more companies use encryption to provide privacy and security to users, a trend that Cotton called “dangerous.”

The freshman senator is no stranger to the encryption debate. He criticized Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook for comments on encryption in December and February, and he reportedly confronted Cook about the issue last month at a private event.

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