WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger facing UK ban

Over the top (OTT) messaging services such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger could be banned in the UK, if the controversial ‘Snooper’s Charter’ is passed.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have spearheaded a campaign to pass the Investigatory Powers Bill, known colloquially as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’. The legislation would see a complete ban on encrypted messages being sent within the UK, in a bid to drive down crime and identify terrorists.

Now it has emerged these popular messaging apps could be banned in the UK altogether, unless they perform a complete U-turn on their strict privacy settings. Previously, the likes of WhatsApp and Snapchat have said they will encrypt all messages passed between users to protect privacy and maintain trust. If this stance doesn’t change, the government could move to ban the apps altogether, with some sources even suggesting it could be rolled out within a matter of weeks.

If the apps are banned, traditional text messages would be expected to pick up the slack – these would not be subject to the Charter because they are not so encrypted.

Pledging his support for the legislation earlier this year, Cameron told standard.co.uk: “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.'”