Free speech is great as long as the government hears everything you say.
Never to let a crisis go to waste, UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to protect UK citizen’s free speech by banning mobile apps that allow people to speak freely.
During a meeting with Britain’s security chiefs, the Prime Minister pledged to halt the use of communications platforms that can withstand snooping from security services who are in possession of a warrant.
Such software applications focus on popular messaging and social networking apps that deploy encryption techniques to protect users data.
WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime, which encrypt information in this manner, could all be targeted by the Conservatives’ proposed policy.
Speaking on Monday, Cameron asked whether a platform of communication that is inaccessible by state authorities is wise.
Yes it is wise Mr. Cameron…how can you have free speech with out the right to privacy?
In a climate of heightened mass surveillance, firms such as WhatsApp have remained determined to continue offering encrypted services.
Public awareness about the importance of encryption mushroomed in the aftermath of former NSA computer analyst and whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures on NSA and GCHQ mass snooping.
Civil liberties groups warn attempts to limit the use of privacy tools under the auspices of protecting national security are a violation of citizens’ privacy rights. Privacy rights advocates say encrypted platforms are important tools for campaigners and activists.
In October 2014, Parker Higgern, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, emphasized the importance of maintaining such privacy tools in an era of mass surveillance.
“It’s essential that the use of encryption, anonymization techniques, and other privacy practices is not deemed a suspicious activity,” he said.
“Rather, it must be recognized as an essential element for practicing freedom of speech in a digital environment.”