WhatsApp, Facebook and many other internet services are facing an imminent ban in the UK following a new twist in the initial ban campaign that was driven by the PM David Cameron.
According to the PM, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, iMessage and other internet services should allow the UK government to monitor the communications of the billions of people who use these services on a daily basis. There is now another form of support for this motion coming from the boss of MI5 Andrew Parker.
WhatsApp, Facebook and other internet services being used by terrorists
According to the MI5 boss, WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook are some of the internet services that are being by terrorists to pass around messages. This follows calls that the UK is facing its worst ever terrorist threat in a period of more than three decades.
The chief said that these companies must also take part in combating terrorism in the country as well as other parts of the world. What this means is that Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Google may have to start sharing information about their different users upon being asked by the government.
Is strong end-to-end encryption on its way out?
Just in case the UK government is successful in requiring that internet service providers regularly provide security agencies with user information, it might mean something else as well. It would require that messaging services which use strong end-to-end encryption be banned. Alternatively, the main encryption technology may be banned from being used on these internet services, which would mean the privacy of the users is also at risk.
When a message is strongly encrypted, it will pass from point A to point C without anyone at point B being able to access or read it. However, the government is against this process as it wants to take a share of the information in a bid to curb the rising rate of terrorism in the country.
Non-encrypted messages may result in increased crime rate
It is true to say that encrypted messages can be a real threat to national security. However, it is the same technology that is needed to keep off hackers and other malicious individuals from users’ personal information and transactions, for instance internet banking. Encryption ensures that a message is sent from a bank to a customer without the possibility of being intercepted by a third party individual, hence ensuring the safety of the users. However, if this technology is eliminated, the rate of online crimes may increase as well.
According to the UK government, WhatsApp and co should make use of weakened encryption or backdoors which then let the government access the communications of the users. However, tech pundits argue that these loopholes will still be utilized by the hackers and other criminals.
The question that arises here is that will Facebook, Apple, Google and co accept such a move? It would be very difficult to see this move succeed, as all of these companies have always reiterated the need of having encrypted services to ensure that users’ privacy is maintained. These companies have even blocked their own access to their users’ communications just to ensure that their privacy is guaranteed.
Keep following us and we will bring you the latest developments regarding the possible banning of WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook, Google and other internet services that use encryption.