David Cameron plans to ban encrypted chat services like WhatsApp and Snapchat
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Plans by Prime Minister David Cameron to ban encrypted chat services could see apps like like WhatsApp and Snapchat targeted under their current models. Cameron aims to prevent all forms of communication which security services cannot read with a warrant in order to protect the country from terrorists.
Cameron spoke of how in times of extreme circumstances like the terror that unfolded in Paris last week, that security services in the UK can obtain a warrant from the home secretary to intercept traditional forms of communication. This includes listening in and reading written letters, phone conversations and emails in a bid to track terrorist activity.
The Prime Minister said today in a speech "In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?". He also reiterated the reason behind the desire to legislate in this manner by saying "We have made progress on this issue by passing the new law which makes sure we protect some of the abilities we have to stop terrorists."
Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, an organisation that challenges policies that threaten privacy, freedom and civil liberties, responded to the plans by saying "It is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the snooper's charter." Mayor of London Boris Johnson supports Cameron and said "You've got to have a very tough security solution, you've got to be absolutely determined to monitor these people. You've got to know where they are and who they are talking to."
Apps such as WhatsApp, SnapChat, iMessage and even FaceTime would all come under threat from this legislation if passed. All of these apps encrypt all communication data in order to protect users and keep their data private. It is very unclear at this point in time how such a ban would be enforced and if corporations like Apple and Facebook would be willing to alter the means by which they transmit data in their chat apps.