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Charlie Hebdo fallout: U.K. wants to ban WhatsApp, iMessage and other encrypted chat apps

Published Jan 13th, 2015 6:50AM EST
WhatsApp vs. iMessage vs. FaceTime

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, some governments are already planning to take preemptive action against similar future events, by coming up with additional security means that could also further infringe on the privacy of regular users. Such is the case in the U.K., The Independent reports, where Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to ban securely encrypted communication services including WhatsApp, SnapChat, iMessage and FaceTime should he win the next elections.

FROM EARLIER: Why the government keeps telling you iPhone encryption will eventually kill a child

“In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which […] we cannot read?” the premier said. Cameron wants to revive the “snooper’s charter” to allow security services to spy on Internet communications under warrants from the home secretary.

Cameron’s intention regarding access to encrypted chat apps for spy agencies is similar to the sentiment of the White House, according to recent reports. Encryption in operating systems from Apple and Google have drawn recent plenty of criticism from law enforcement in the U.S., including the FBI.

So far, both Apple and Google, and other companies who offer similar protection to their communication platforms, seem committed to protect the user’s privacy, especially considering the massive leaks that revealed the extensive surveillance operations already being conducted by various top spy agencies.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.