David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, hopes to prevent terrorism by passing a new law that bans messaging apps using encrypted messages. If passed, the new law could impose bans on WhatsApp, Snapchat and iMessage in the UK.
Called the Investigatory Powers Bill, or ‘Snooper’s Charter’, David Cameron hopes the bill will make all records of digital communication visible upon request. This means the government could ban WhatsApp, Snapchat, iMessage or other instant messaging apps if they refuse to remove end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption means that messages sent and received between two parties can’t be intercepted and read by a third party.
David Cameron’s new law would also force technology companies to keep records of their customers’ activities. This includes web searches, messages, pictures, and videos. If the law is actually passed, the government can access this information if they request it.
David Cameron vs WhatsApp
“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” Cameron said earlier this year. “My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not’.
“But the question we must ask ourselves is whether, as technology develops, we are content to leave a safe space – a new means of communication – for terrorists to communicate with each other.”
Former Deputy PM Nick Clegg also said: “We have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm, but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing.”
Home Secretary Theresa May will apparently putting the bill in front of Government by autumn.