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Germany Seeks Access to Encrypted Messages on WhatsApp, Telegram

Germany's federal interior minister, Horst Seehofer, wants companies such as WhatsApp and Telegram to give security authorities access to end-to-end encrypted messages or calls. Not complying with this could end with companies being banned by the Federal Network Agency. 

The latest issue of Der Spiegel reports that Seehofer wants the order to be implemented quickly, especially with the move to 5G potentially causing "complications" for security authorities. This comes after WhatsApp had to fix its app due to a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability, which may have been exploited by a national-state. 

As Infosecurity reported at the time, the Facebook-owned mobile communication giant, with 1.5 billion users, rolled out a fix on the vulnerability that allowed users to be infected with spyware by being phoned by the attacker. 

5G itself has also been a controversial topic recently, with an FBI agent citing that the technology would lead to "an explosion in cybersecurity risks." Experts in Europe have also called for 5G to be provided with end-to-end encryption. 

Additionally, Germany has had dealings with WhatsApp's parent company, Facebook, this year. Its antitrust watchdog, the Federal Cartel Office, banned the technology company from combining data collected from its social platform without user consent, according to Forbes.

Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office, said, "Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts."

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