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On Monday, a vigil and march were held in Paris after a violent and deadly Islamic terrorist attack on the offices of the satirical news publication, Charlie Hebdo. The attacks and ensuing hostage crisis left one cartoonist and 16 others dead. Participants held pens of all sizes in the air to demonstrate their support of free speech and marched in a show of solidarity that went from sombre to celebratory.

paris 2014 unity march

British Prime Minister David Cameron made an appearance at this Unity March. He used the incident to unveil his intentions to push legislation that seeks to ban software that allows extremely private communication to which the government has no access. Apps that give the government the ability to spy on people would be okay though. Popular apps, such as Snapchat and Whatsapp could be on the chopping block if the Prime Minister gets his way.

Cameron told ITV News: “I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability, in extremis, with a warrant signed by the Home Secretary, to be exempt from being listened to. That is my very clear view and if I am Prime Minister after the next election I will make sure we legislate accordingly.”

While privacy advocates may be at arms over the declaration — it is worth noting that the Prime Minister had already attempted, and failed, to push such legislation in the past. This appeared in the form of the Snoopers’ Charter, which was blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his liberal democrat supporters. However, if Cameron wins another term and the UK political landscape changes, he may not find himself blocked, as he once was.

Some might find it ironic or even inappropriate that the Prime Minister chose a demonstration that champions freedom of speech to unveil anti-privacy intentions. Indeed, Big Brother Watch director Emma Carr stated: “It is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the snooper’s charter.”

It is uncertain weather politicians in the UK will be phased by the violent attacks outside of their borders. Even if Cameron is re-elected, it seems that democrats in parliament would need to lose considerable ground before such a bill could make its way to law.

no privacy on the internet

Does this prevent terrorism?

Another possible issue with such a ban is enforcement. Removing privacy and encryption apps from various app-stores is not likely to thwart dedicated criminals. Third-party apps can easily be installed from other sources. Would such legislation be more likely to make the communications of common individuals less secure while being rather ineffective against professional criminals? Does the prime minister also plan on monitoring what apps people have installed on their devices?

What do you readers think? Is having a backdoor to possibly years of a person’s chat and e-mail history the same as listening in on phone calls that would cease to exist if the conversation was never recorded? Do you think the popularity of portable devices and the internet have made the world a more, or less private place? Is such legislation worth the loss of privacy if it can help prevent terrorism? Please let us know in the comments below.

Benjamin Jeanotte

Hi, I'm Ben. I am a 35 year old gaming veteran. My first console was a Mattel Intellivision(released 1981, purchased 1983) and I have owned at least one major console from every generation since. With thousands of titles behind me, I am a harsh and critical gamer who enjoys hating on games as much as loving them. — I am not just a writer for Techraptor, but a huge fan of it as well. You will probably see my comments on many articles, not just on MY articles, but others too. I look forward to having some glorious discussions and debates with you all.

  • cptk

    Our scumbag Government spring this sort of shit every time any global event might give them sway to have a go.

    They are already abusing terror laws to gag journalism and infringe personal freedom and without the EU they would’ve gone much much further.

    Turns out since 9/11 more people are killed in the UK by bees than terrorists but we don’t see the government wasting tax payers money on tracking the movements of every bee in the country.

  • Azure

    For the love of… first porn now chat rooms fuck my life and fuck you David Cameron. Try growing some balls and bring back the death penalty and make prisons into something more punishing and productive.

  • gpf_mournblade

    its about control this wont fix any thing theres vpns the tor network
    ext its all bull shit to get control of the people that dont know how to
    use tec properly and spy on them

  • Ed Milliband

    The government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner, we need to put aside the rhetoric and get around the negotiating table.

  • Alex

    I don’t like this…

  • 33

    “ban software that allows extremely private communication without allowing the government to peek inside”
    It’s okay to peek if you let us in as well though. – Cameron

    “if Cameron is re-elected”
    How horrifying.

  • try out
    i know i am switching to this

  • How that legislation-happy statist maniac has the sheer brass neck to call himself “conservative” beats me to a pulp. He seems to have absolutely no concept of the moral limits of state power.

    How will he deal with open source? Is he going to ban words and numbers? Make it illegal to distribute instructions on how to harden chat software? And how will that be enforced?

    The fact that analogue electronic communications were insecure by their very nature must never be used as an excuse for forcing insecurity on inherently secure methods. That’s the road to Orwell’s telescreens.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    LOL, so it seems this guy isn’t very popular. You raise some excellent questions, and I agree with you as much as I can without being terribly familiar with UK politics. Still, I’m surprised to not see anyone in favor of these proposals.

  • Cy

    First of all, congratulations on having the balls and the intellectual honesty to call an Islamic terrorist attack an Islamic terrorist attack. Second, fuck David Cameron. You can’t fight people who want to curtail freedom by curtailing freedom. And there is no way I trust any government to use this only for fighting terrorism. Hell, in the US we have the IRS going after the president’s political opponents and they’re supposedly a “transparent” organization, and the NSA going through our communication at will. Something tells me the UK government wouldn’t be any more trustworthy.

  • All the main political parties in the UK are fairly terrifying when it comes to wanting to abridge liberties unfortunately, so it hardly matters which one gets elected.

    “Even if Cameron is re-elected, it seems that democrats in parliament
    would need to lose considerable ground before such a bill could make its
    way to law.”

    This sentence confuses me. What does being a ‘democrat’ (an essentially meaningless term in a UK political context) have to do with civil liberty legislation?

  • They are all horrifying, so it hardly matters who gets in.

  • Accel_Almer

    I guess I am going to move to the US once I have enough money saved up.

  • I don’t think there are any particularly popular mainstream politicians in the UK and they almost all pretty much interchangeable.

  • Why? You want to move farther from the GCHQ servers but closer to the NSA ones, eh? 😉

  • dsadsada

    Because that will totally stop terrorists and the like, right? I mean people who are perfectly ok with murder and/or theft would be perfectly willing to honor such a law, right?

    I swear, people who push for such laws have no idea how outlaws work.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    Because Cameron’s previous and similar “snoopers'” bill was blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his liberal democrat supporters. It stands to reason that another bill would indeed be blocked again by liberal democrats in parliament if nothing changes. Do you not think this is a reasonable assumption?

  • ArsCortica

    “These people wanted to eliminate freedom of speech, so to fight them, I will eliminate freedom of speech”.


  • Fruits

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” -Benjamin Franklin

  • Marathon

    I think you could apply that statement to the west as a whole.