Breaking: UK Pushes to Ban Whatsapp, More Governments to Follow?

In a move that is sparking outrage across the country, UK is pressing ahead with plans to ban all encrypted communication under stricter laws for social media and online messaging services. Major services including Whatsapp, iMessage and Snapchat could face the ban under the new rules.

The UK’s ‘Investigatory Powers Bill’ will require all ISPs, phone companies and service providers to give access to their data to the government. This will include everything you search online through Google, Facebook and Whatsapp conversations as well as Snapchat photos.

The exact scope of the Bill is still not known but that ambiguity is exactly what makes it such a breach of privacy. Everyone is well versed in vague bills, secret courts and the push for mass surveillance without any clear goal courtesy of Snowden and it would be incredibly naive of us to think it’s a harmless move.

As such, this marks another brazen attempt by a government to use tragedy to push more draconian laws that compromise security and privacy. Recently, the FBI director (who has been pushing for backdoors in major services) admitted that there is no data to back up claims that access to unencrypted communication helps thwart attacks. There are countless other examples but once again, there is a rallying cry of ‘What about the terrorists?’ to gain more control and power over the public.

The Snooper’s Charter, as it has been called by many, has plenty of opponents.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg blocked the same bill while he was in power. He said:

We have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm, but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing.

The so-called Snoopers’ Charter is not targeted. It’s not proportionate.

It’s not harmless. It would be a new and dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual.

People who blithely say they are happy for their communications to be open to scrutiny because they have ‘nothing to hide’ have failed to grasp something fundamental about open democratic societies: We do not make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free.

Liberty, which campaigns for civil liberties and human rights in the UK, said:

We take no issue with the use of intrusive surveillance powers per se – targeted surveillance can play an important part in preventing and detecting serious crime.

But the current regime just doesn’t provide sufficient safeguards to ensure that such surveillance is conducted lawfully, and in a necessary and proportionate way.

Will Pakistan Follow in Banning WhatsApp?

While the news bears no direct bearing on Pakistan, it could set up a very dangerous precedent. We know that our law enforcement agencies are tired of these encrypted messaging apps and UK’s ban on WhatsApp (and others) could see other countries following suit.

We fear that Pakistan won’t take a moment in going ahead and legislating against these encrypted apps.

Fighting against governments that are vying for more and more power is an uphill battle as it is and a developed country forcing an outright ban on encryption could provide the impetus to other nations including ours.Privacy activists should gear up to fight their wildest battle yet.
Via Google News

Talal is a Director and the Chief Content Officer at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]

  • Banning Whatsapp will be good for Pakistan’s economy as well as national security. I strongly recommend banning all such communication channels that are not controlled by the Government of Pakistan.

  • Ban is not on communication or Whatsapp its on “encrypted communication”

    Encrypted communication helps criminals and should be banned all over the world

    Its not privacy issue but its Security Issue. Why such technology should be made available free for bad guys all over the world?

    So Whatsapp and other need to offer non encrypted communication and they will in order to survive

    • OK!
      Brother why do you have curtains in your home? Do you ever keep your windows open? No, right? Just like that people don’t like someone reading the chat they are having with their family or friend, because it is personal. Having no encryption means that some hacker can easily see what you are doing online read you messages etc.Would anybody like the guy sitting next door read your messages?
      If you can say yes to any of the question above then i with you.:)

      • Your argument is right. I agree with you 500%. What you are talking is “Secure Communication”. Yes that is our right


        There is technically a vast difference between “Secure” and “Encrypted” Communication.

        That’s why UK Govt is considering banning it

        • Brother secure communication also works using encryption. I think by “no encryption” they mean no https. again i am no expert.

            • OK so we are talking about the encrypted messages.My typed message is encrypted and sent via secure channel to WhatsApp server then message was delivered using secure channel.And like WhatsApp says they delete they delete the message as soon as it is delivered(although i highly doubt that) Then how will punjab police see my message? again a successful bomb dhamaka.

  • Well i am no expert.But can’t terrorists make their own apps which use encryption?? They already have some tech guys with them. This is not going to help at all,i think. Another move to invade the privacy of common people, shouldn’t happen.

    • Facilitating the criminals with free and easily available encrypted communication means must be stopped immediately. It is like funding and facilitating them.

      Your privacy will not be invaded. Govt is never interested what common man is doing, dating etc….

      • Yes i know government is not interested in what you are i are doing.But i just don’t like some matric pass guy in “punjab” police to read what i gossiped about with my friend. That should remain between me and my friend. And we both know how things are in our country. Everything is misused.

        • And how many terrorists did they catch by shutting down mobile service during muharam? Jahan bomb phootna tha wahan pootha.

          • Sir right now UK Govt is considering this not Our to ban “Encrypted Communication”

            So our case is not being discussed

            • If UK is doing this and if USA did this then they will most certainly put pressure on our govt and they will take no time doing this.

            • this wouldnt change anything terrorist have highly developed tech and guess whose providing them? the fucking goverment officials, ever heard of edward snowden? if the gpverment isnt intrested in common mans data than why was the nsa storing bulks and saving up phome calls,texts,ip adresses,passwprds,even multimedia.. and they could access any(any) civilians personal life ..basically youre letting them screw u over .. bcz these data logs are

              • are then accessed by enormous agencies and that js really horrifying (not everyone is a angel) by banning encrypting comminicatiom wouldnt effect terrorist but masively common ppl,bcz they dont have time to keep a private eye for everyone they assume (weather abc person is terrorist or nt) by his searches,

                • u run a pirated windows with no security at all.. and search things like osama bin laden or 9/11 and have multiple fake accounts.. tell me what will they make of it? what if wrong agency get their hands on it..when Nsa was being questioned by american parliament they refused that they DO NOT collect ANYTHING, they have that much power to lie infront of parliament.. they cant be trusted with ur personal info.. especially nt passwords ip addreses searches multimedia

            • also this is because us can atart their filthy data stealing work again.. u need to get ur facts right and google edward snowden

        • Why you are paranoid about your Gupshup with your friend ?

          Punjab Police have to do a lot of other things so don’t worry they will not spy on you

          • Haha its no paranoia brother i am talking about the privacy of a person. I am advocating the right of staying private the personal life of an individual. And yes brother Punjab police has a lot to do but that is not catching criminals;)
            i mean how can you “catch” some with such a figure?

            • Stay cool and let the Governments do their work.

              I believe that its about our security and survival

              • Yes! brother 30% + tax on mobile phone usage is also for our survival. They guys sitting in high halls have their own interests.So you can not tell what the actual intentions London has. No conspiracy theory but that seems absurd to me.

            • I really admire you “love” for punjab police after reading your comments. But lets not drag that dept here. They have nothing to do with techyy stuff. Its the agencies job.

          • lets see u say that when ure talking with ure wife or the loved ones.. can u say the same? wbu ur family .. loved ones? the moments u share with them

  • Lolz… should even ban internet , Gas , electricity,Water etc.. all evil things should be in Pakistan for demo purpose ? when good things are not applied in Pakistan comparing other contries then why welcoming it when it is not related to Pakistan yet.

  • Well, if its gonna happen in Pakistan any time sooner or later. I think there is a middle way.

    i) We all know Whatsapp, viber etc require a valid mobile number for registration.
    ii) After biometric verification drive, almost all of our cellphone subscriber base is legit & verified.
    iiI) What law enforcements agencies can do is that if they find a suspicious cell number then (via law) they can ask whatsapp, viber etc to share the chat records of that number.

    No? sounds like a middle way to me!

  • aggressive un-logical(s) every where: Its not that what is right or wrong, if you don’t have argument in favour of your oppenent then START ABUSING HIM. Just look at all the comments below, one person giving an argument, and all the “beings” opposing him in just abuses.

  • To stop terrorism I believe we need to change the ideology of people. To stop terrorism we have to educate people in our religion. To stop terrorism we do not need to have our privacy invaded.

    This is just another move to make sure we are on a short leash. Another move to make the people afraid of the government, instead of the other way around.

    As for people worrying in Pakistan about whatsapp being banned, I believe we have way more serious issues to be worrying about than a chatting app.

    Plus these bastards are going to make it harder for me to order weed now >:/

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