Whatsapp, Snapchat & iMessage may disappear from England
Whatsapp is standing at the brink of a total UK ban as new legislation aims at stopping people from sending encrypted messages. WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat stand to face the ban, unless they stop encrypted communications. The law which stands to take away these platforms has been nicknamed 'Snoopers Charter' and could come into effect by autumn.
UK Home Secretary to revive the Data Bill
Though Liberal Democrats are trying to block the Data Bill, the Conservatives will move to empower the online surveillance powers of the police and security services with the Home Secretary keen to make the Bill a reality. The bill would require internet and cell phone companies to keep "records of customers' browsing activity, social media use, emails, voice calls, text messages for a year."
Opposition against 'snoop gate' charter
Jim Killock of The Open Rights Group, argued that this legislation roughly translates into the government espionage. This could mean data collection, police retention and "spying on everyone, whether suspected of a crime or not." Civil liberty and human rights activists feel that though the legislation could definitely be used to detect and prevent serious crimes, it may be used unlawfully.
After BlackBerry, it is Whatsapp's turn!
This isn't the first time a social messenger is being killed at the government's hands. In 2011 after the UK riots, the government had begun a crackdown on BlackBerry Messenger.
Data Bill to hamper business
The bill if effective will make the internet service providers (ISPs) charge much more from the customers. The companies will have to sink in a lot of time to save up unnecessary data, which will eventually be 'unproductive'. Moreover, it would restrain the encryption business as it would limit the products these businesses can "develop, as it could undermine their security."
Snoopers Charter decision decoded!
The Draft Communications Data Bill would entail online services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Google and Apple to hand over messages to government agencies viz. MI5. According to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, the government's decision to go ahead with the ban has been fast tracked due to the recent terrorist attacks in France and Tunisia. This legislation would help keep a check on terrorist activities.
The Prime Minister speaks on the legislation
David Cameron commented, "In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?...My answer to that question is no we must not."
What WhatsApp stands to lose?
The active WhatsApp user base in the United Kingdom was 34% of its mobile web users in 2014. If the Draft Communications Data Bill comes through, it would seriously hurt Whatsapp.