Could WhatsApp and Snapchat be banned in the UK under new Snooper’s Charter?

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Is WhatsApp about to be banned under controversial legislation?

Messaging service WhatsApp could be banned in the UK if the controversial Snooper’s Charter legislation is passed, it is being claimed.

Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing ahead with new legislation that plans to stop people from sending any form of encrypted messages.

Online messaging services like WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat encrypt the communication between users, which means they fall under the bill.

However, others believe it is highly unlikely that the government would seek to ban the messaging services, because encryption runs far beyond messaging services and extends to a huge range of internet services, including online banking.

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Mr Cameron said in January, in the wake of the terror attacks in France: “The next government will have to legislate again in 2016.

“If I am prime minister I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other.

“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, that we cannot read?

“That is why in extremis it has been possible to read someone’s letter, to listen to someone’s telephone, to mobile communications.

“But the question remains: 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’.

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The recent spate of terrorist attacks – including the shooting of 30 Britons on a beach in Tunisia – has prompted the Conservative Government to act fast on the Investigatory Powers Bill.

It would require big technology companies like Facebook, Google and Apple to keep records of the messages sent between users.

If passed into law, the bill would require communications data to be stored for a year.

That would extend to tweets, emails, Facebook messages or flirty Snapchats.

Plenty of groups have voiced their opposition to the bill.

The Open Rights Group said that “inserting the Snoopers’ Charter into an already complicated bill is an abuse of procedure”.

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