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David Cameron threatens to ban encrypted messaging apps



British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned messaging apps that don’t allow government snooping could be banned after the general election.

The PM says apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp, which offer users the protection of encrypting their messages, are threatening the battle against terrorism.

Cameron says (via NYT Bits), if the Conservative government is re-elected, there’d be an effort to force mobile networks, ISPs and social networks to cough up access to communications.

He said: “Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read? My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not.’

“The attacks in Paris demonstrated the scale of the threat that we face and the need to have robust powers through our intelligence and security agencies in order to keep our people safe.”

The vow comes as a somewhat predictable political response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

It has been argued governments use the heightened fears during these tragedies in order to erode civil liberties, under the guise of protecting freedoms.

In a joint statement European Union politicians also said: “We are concerned at the increasingly frequent use of the Internet to fuel hatred and violence and signal our determination to ensure that the Internet is not abused to this end.”

How Cameron plans to go about this ban, given the worldwide presence of apps like WhatsApp, remains to be seen.


January 12, 2015, 9:28 pm

Ban Cameron first. Sorted.


January 13, 2015, 3:57 am

It's quite amazing to hear this, given that the Paris attacks were carried out by 2 brothers and a freind that wouldn't have needed to use any communication technology other than face to face conversations...


January 13, 2015, 8:36 am

What a tosser exactly, like terrorists use apps like whatsapp to communicate. as if. Jokes like the NSA has all your selfies yes the fight against terrorism is real but if its at the cost to privacy which I believe is a fundamental right then the terrorists have already won. Honestly snapchat and whatsapp only now is whatsapp implementing encryption. This argument that encrypted chats help terrorism is old and moot they use their own methods of communication.


January 13, 2015, 9:53 am

I can only hope that this kind of ignorant reactionary talk will help sink him at the upcoming election.


January 13, 2015, 10:09 am

Except Cameron didn't actually say he'd *BAN* apps using encryption - if such a thing were even possible. He is talking about having access to the encrypted data.

Journalists getting the wrong end of the stick yet again.

Sean Cameron

January 13, 2015, 11:48 am

I don't know why they think this line of debate will win them votes.


January 13, 2015, 12:23 pm

The man is a dangerous imbecile and more of a threat to our way of life than any terrorist. Vote for anyone other than Tory in the next election.


January 13, 2015, 12:26 pm

Not only that, they were already known to the French intelligence services and had already spent time in jail for terrorism-related offences. If the intelligence services can't use their already extensive powers to prevent people they already know about from committing terrorist acts, giving them more powers will achieve nothing except continuing to erode our liberties. We don't need another Stasi thanks.

Robert Winters

January 13, 2015, 12:48 pm

There is a bit more too it than that. This isn't just about encryption. He wants to give the police access to all internet records. Not just the cyber crime divisions (which they already have) He wants any old plod to be able to check anyones internet records. Not just encrypted. ALL records of anyone they might suspect of ANYTHING. These kind of powers will be misused and abused by PC Plod without doubt!
This makes it a very serious issue.


January 13, 2015, 2:23 pm

EFF OFF CAMERON. (my most eloquent post to date)


January 13, 2015, 2:26 pm

They are all self-important, dangerous imbeciles in my book. Give us a 'none of the above' as an option on the ballot paper and make any victor get a majority of the total vote.


January 13, 2015, 2:53 pm

well, at least it will enable them to know which way you are thinking of voting ;)


January 13, 2015, 2:53 pm

You're right, but the outcome is the same - look at it this way, if you're Mark Zuckerberg, and you're told to put a backdoor into Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp allowing the British government free access, or to remove the encryption entirely, what do you do? Do you (a) bow down and do as you're told, then face outcry from millions of users both in the UK and elsewhere for handing over their private data to the UK authorities; or (b) ignore / refuse and, when the inevitable happens and your services are blocked in the UK for failing to comply with the new law, lay the blame squarely (where it belongs) at the door to 10 Downing Street? Obviously (b), then sit back and watch the government sweat as their stupid plans backfire horrendously, the law is hastily retracted, and everyone goes back to business as usual except David Cameron, who goes to the unemployment office.

Same for other social networks. Same for banks. Same for e-commerce.

Cameron has been appallingly badly advised here.

Spike Black

January 13, 2015, 4:07 pm

Well councils did use the anti terrorism laws to snoop on benefit cheats.

Robert Winters

January 13, 2015, 5:22 pm

Exactly my point.
An example of how this will play out..
Police carry out an on the spot search to some random person they don't like the look off. Find nothing. But now have a name and address and can go back to the station and look at the persons internet behaviour. Might find it funny to find his/her porn habit. Will then use this the next time they see them or worse.
Police on the street should not have access to such sensitive and personal data WITHOUT warrant or court order.
This will basically remove any privacy people have at all on-line.
I can also see a lot of police wasting time reading nonsense people tweet or put on other social media in some pathetic hope of unearthing something. This in turn removes the need for "probable cause" They will be able to do what they like.

Its a really slippery slope Cameron is going down. It's also going to force REAL criminals to take more evasive actions and will just leave joe blogs open to abuse.

As someone else mentioned. This is only 1 step away from the stasi


January 14, 2015, 11:41 am

Labour well and truly set the stage while they were in power; http://www.independent.co.u...

They all have the same agenda so expecting a difference is futile.

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