WhatsApp Ban Causes Social Media Outcry As Government Pushes Ahead With 'Snoopers Charter'

10/07/2015 13:25 | Updated 11 July 2015

During the Queen's Speech, the Government unveiled plans for a new version of the controversial 'Snoopers Charter' bill which would potentially allow the Government to ban instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger.

whatsapp

Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger would both be banned under the new legislation.

Since that point attention to the 'Snoopers Charter' has increased after a number of reports started appearing that Home Secretary Theresa May was planning to have the bill in place before the end of the year.

The Investigatory Powers Bill would -- admittedly with a number of strict procedures in place -- allow security services such as GCHQ and MI5 to access instant messages sent between two people in this country.

The problem is that almost all the major apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Snapchat) all use encrypted end-to-end communications which means that Governments and indeed the technology companies can't see what's being sent.

Speaking in the aftermath of the Paris Shootings, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which even in extremes, with a signed warrant from the Home Secretary personally that we cannot read,"

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This would essentially allow the Government to potentially ban services that refuse to remove encryption, and by default then ban apps like WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger.

While the story itself has been ongoing, the news that the bill could be enforced before the end of the year has resulted in a strong public backlash on Twitter and Facebook:

Facebook users:

Alex Paul:
Aaaaahhh, scaremongering. My favourite type of bullsh*t.

Anna Gruffydd:
George Orwell, thou should'st be living at this hour.

Phil Collins:
"I wonder if the people who defend this sort of concept would be as happy if they brought in a law, that basically told postal workers to photocopy every bit of post that go through sorting offices, and that BT, Talk Talk, Virgin etc had to record every phone call, which effectively laws like this are doing for the online community."

William Taylor:
"Civil liberties being traded of for national security - and the sheep will accept it. "If we can't spy on your communications, we will just ban you from communicating"

Shay Kevarra:
"This is not a measure to counter terrorism . It is another measure to eradicate free speech, communal communication and democracy."

Twitter:

Others are less fussed, or indeed think that the proposal is so extreme that it simply won't come to pass:

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