Online messaging Apps under attack
Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday that terrorists, such as those who carried out the Paris attacks, are using popular online messenger services that use encryption to plan their attacks.
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Apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Skype are the focus of his attention as British spies are unable to hack such services due to the encryption they use and the lack of legal powers they possess to do so.
Further regulation of the Internet – Privacy rights under fire?
The Independent reports:
Then again, we are also asked to believe that they do not hack their way into the messages anyway. This is despite evidence to the contrary in documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, which showed that both the British intelligence gathering unit GCHQ and the National Security Agency in the US spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year trying to access encrypted files.
Snowden’s leaks suggest GCHQ is already doing in secret what the Prime Minister wants it to do in public, and that the new law is actually aimed at making it more convenient, as well as legal. But that is not Mr Cameron’s line.
Speaking the day after last week’s huge march in Paris (in which he stood with world leaders and declared his passion for free speech), he posed a question: “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which, even in extremis, with a signed warrant from the Home Secretary personally, we cannot read? Up until now, governments of this country have said no.”
If he wins a majority at the next election, Mr Cameron will introduce a new law that “makes sure we do not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other”.
The need is urgent, according to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who says “the capabilities of the people who keep us safe” are diminishing with every day that passes without a new law. “As those capabilities diminish, more people find themselves in danger,” she told the Commons on Wednesday. “And, yes, crimes will go unpunished and innocent lives will be put at risk.”