U.K. Contemplates Banning Encrypted Messaging Apps Unless It Can Enter Through Backdoor

Whether you use Snapchat to send goofy faces to friends and family, or fling more sultry looking photos to a lover, you probably don't want those snapshots falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for users in the United Kingdom, new legislation could force messaging applications to be less secure so the government can peep encrypted communications.

Apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Snapchat would all be banned as currently constructed if the new laws take effect. That's because the legislation being pushed would only allow apps to use encryption if there's a backdoor for government agents. The idea is to prevent terrorists from being able to communicate with one another without government officials being able to see what's going on.


The problem with that is backdoors make it easier for hackers to work their dirty deeds. Nevertheless, government officials are intent on passing the the Drafts Communications Data Bill, otherwise known as the "Snooper's Charter," as the current push is the second attempt after it was rejected last year.

Home Secretary Theresa May is one of the bill's biggest proponents. In the last go-round, she said it was "necessary to maintain the capabilities for our law enforcement agencies such that they can continue to do the excellent job, day in and day out, of keeping us safe and secure."

On the flip side, critics of the bill are loathe to give even more surveillance power to the government. They also point out that the bill doesn't have any measures to protect against unlawful surveillance or to ensure that it would be used only when necessary.