The United Kingdom may soon introduce legislation that will ban encrypted messaging apps, according to statements made by British Interior Minister Amber Rudd. In the aftermath of the attack in Westminster, Minister Rudd claimed that encrypted messaging apps are a “secret place for terrorists to communicate” after it was revealed that the attacker had used WhatsApp prior to launching his attack which left four dead.
A ban on end-to-end encrypted messaging apps isn’t out of the question
While speaking with the Andrew Marr Show, Minister Rudd refused to rule out the introduction of legislation that would ban end-to-end encryption using messaging apps. Rudd also admitted that she’d need help to fight terrorism on social media: She said on the show:
“The best people who understand the technology, who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff ever being put up, not just taken down, but ever being put up in the first place are going to be them.”
What are the necessary hashtags to ban to prevent terrorism? If you think it’s possible to ban encryption, which is mathematics, you might think it’s possible to ban use of social media by targeting certain hashtags.
Getting rid of end-to-end encrypted messaging, or encrypted anything, is a bad idea
Brian Paddick, the Lib Dems’ home affairs spokesperson, stated in response:
“These terrorists want to destroy our freedoms and undermine our democratic society. By implementing draconian laws that limit our civil liberties, we would play into their hands. Having the power to read everyone’s text messages is neither a proportionate nor an effective response.”
While speaking with the Andrew Marr Show, Minister Rudd refused to rule out the introduction of legislation that would ban end-to-end encryption using messaging apps. This isn’t the first time that a government official has called for the end of end-to-end encryption, or even a backdoor into successful encryption implementations. Remember the encryption ban proposal by David Cameron? However, it’s worth pointing out to doubters such as Minister Rudd that encryption has way more beneficial uses than not, and that is why the UN recommends encryption in everything, even your Internet activity.