WhatsApp and other encrypted communications like iMessage and Snapchat could be outlawed in the UK if a new and controversial “Snooper’s Charter” law is passed.
In every country, you see people in the streets, cafes, and parks, eyes glued to their phones and thumbs busy typing away. However, online messaging services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage, which encrypt the communication between users, may fall foul of the new “Snooper’s Charter” legislation planned for the UK.
The “Snooper’s Charter” is more officially dubbed the “Investigatory Powers Bill” and if passed would require all the big tech companies, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, to save the records of messages sent by users and store them for a year.
What this actually means is that every email, tweet, sexting session, or Facebook private message would be stored away and handy for police officials to browse at leisure. But then there’s those other communications that are encrypted and cannot easily be accessed by the powers that be.
— MirrorTech (@MirrorTech) July 9, 2015
Back in January 2015, British prime minister David Cameron asked, “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” Cameron proceeded to say that the answer to his question is “no we must not.”
“If I am prime minister, I will make sure it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that makes sure we do not allow terrorist safe spaces to communicate with each other.”
However many human rights groups have voiced their opposition to the Orwellian “Snooper’s Charter” bill, citing lack of privacy to the users. According to the Open Rights Group, adding the controversial “Snooper’s Charter” to what is an already complicated bill “is an abuse of procedure.”
— Josh Poppen (@PoppenReport) July 4, 2015
And you wouldn’t want all your work email to be unencrypted would you? What would your competitors do with that info? #snoopersCharter
— sleep(1) while!fun; (@techpractical) July 10, 2015
The Mirror Online asked its UK readers if they thought the “Snooper’s Charter” was a good idea. At the time of writing, the responses to the poll were an emphatic 80 percent “No” and only a 20 percent “Yes.”
The Express is reporting that the ban could happen “within weeks” as Cameron presses ahead with the new legislation to prevent anyone sending any kind of encrypted messages.
They say Home Secretary Theresa May has warned that the Investigatory Powers Bill could be passed this autumn. Citing the recent bloody attacks on Brits in Tunisia, May feels the legislation is necessary.
UK and worldwide readers, what do you think of the “Snooper’s Charter” legislation and the possible ban of WhatsApp and other encrypted communications? Let us know below.
In other UK news, a man was recently photographed strolling past Parliament Square in London, wrapped in an ISIS flag and carrying a small child on his shoulders (waving a smaller flag). However, in that incident police were unable to apprehend the man as he was reportedly not breaking the law.