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UK Parliament set to pass Investigatory Powers Bill that could ban WhatsApp

Somi Das | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 18:52 IST

Popular messaging app WhatsApp could be banned in the UK if its Parliament passes the Investigatory Powers Bill this Autumn session.

The bill, which has been dubbed as the "Snooper's Charter", was drafted in May this year and was also a part of the Queen's address to the Parliament. It aims at giving security and intelligence agencies greater access to electronic communication of its citizens.

Why is the bill called 'Snooper's Charter'?

Even as details of the bill remain unclear, many see it as a serious breach of privacy. The bill makes it mandatory for internet service providers, telecom operators, and Over the Top (OTT) service-providers like Facebook and Google to keep complete records of all consumer activity and make it available to the government.

Another reason why the bill is being opposed is because many apps which do not allow end-to-end encryption of their data might face a ban. These include, apart from WhatsApp, iMessage and Snapchat.

Why is the government keen on the bill?

The UK government has justified the 'snooping' abilities of this bill citing recent terrorist attacks across Europe. PM David Cameron said in January:"In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?"


First published: 14 February 2017, 18:52 IST
Somi Das @Somi_Das

Somi brings with her the diverse experience of working in a hard news environment with ample exposure to long-form journalism to Catch. She has worked with Yahoo! News, India Legal and Newslaundry. As the Assistant Editor of Catch Live, she intends to bring quality, speed and accuracy to the table. She has a PGD in Print and TV journalism from YMCA, New Delhi, and is a lifelong student of Political Science.