Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron announced that should the Conservatives win this year’s General Election, he would move forward with plans that would put an end to encrypted messaging services that didn’t have a back door for government snoops to exploit.
That includes popular services like WhatsApp, Snapchat, iMessage, Telegram, and many more.
Cameron specifically mentioned the tragic Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris as an example of why the government should be allowed to read private messages. His logic is that if a warrant can be obtained to read letters and tap phones, why shouldn’t the same be true for messaging services?
In a speech Cameron asked, “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.”
Thankfully none of these companies are likely to want to play ball. Apple has said on many occasions that it is not possible for it to decrypt and read people’s iMessages. WhatsApp is also well know for resisting the GCHQ and NSA who wanted to try and snoop on its users.
Plus even if the government could somehow block these services, there will always be ways to get round it. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, this government doesn’t have the best track record with understanding how technology works.
Given the nature of this plan, and Cameron’s wording, I doubt this will ever be a popular policy. Who wants to be told that they have no right to privacy, and the government should be able to read any and all communications they make?
This shouldn’t be something the government has any say in, and just because a minority might utilise privacy for evil doesn’t mean the rest of us should miss out.