With the recent terror attacks around the world, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking new legislation against secure communications.
“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?” Cameron stated.
Cameron gave the argument that terrorists are using these protected methods of communication (BBM and other apps like it) and that the UK government, with new legislation by 2016, should be able to monitor them or otherwise ban them.
“Are we going to allow a means of communication where it simply isn’t possible to do that? My answer to that is, no, we must not,” he said.
If the new policies are enacted, it would effectively make public end-to-end encryption in the UK illegal. Unless, companies like BlackBerry could provide a backdoor for the relevant authorities to access people’s BBM conversations.
Additionally, a restriction on encryption could affect other services too, such as secure web browsing and gaming. The UK already has laws in place that require citizens to decrypt their personal data, or hand over decryption keys, should the government request access with a court order.
As Engadget points out, the “desire to create new legislation could also imply that the UK Prime Minister is keen to resurrect the Draft Communications Data Bill, commonly referred to as the Snooper’s Charter. The bill would have required companies to retain basic data about their users’ communications, such as the numbers people called and when they called them, for at least 12 months.”