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UK: WhatsApp & iMessage to Break Their Own Security

Flickr.com/Sam Azgor

The UK government is trying to bring the Investigatory Powers Bill into effect. If this passes, it will force WhatsApp and iMessage to weaken its security for spies to access it if required. The controversial bill has been re-drafted after it was criticised by every committee in the parliament after scrutinizing it. However, the most debated clauses in it remain the same.

The bill would require the deactivation of the end to end encryption, which allows users of WhatsApp, iMessage and Face Time to communicate securely. It also vests the police with powers to get access to Internet browsing data and computers to acquire information, the Financial Times reported.

The 246 pages of the bill, followed by supporting documents codified the rules that govern the MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police forces’ access to the communications of the Britons.

The government said that it has re-drafted the bill following concerns and would not compel to weaken encryption but, it will force companies to weaken their security which has been applied by them alone.

Charities like Privacy International condemned the bill, saying that no changes have been made to the bill to ensure the privacy of the people.

“It would be shameful to even consider this change cosmetic,” the Independent quoted Gus Hosein, the executive director of Privacy International, as saying. “The Bill published today continues to adhere to the structure and the underlying rationale that underpinned the draft IP Bill, despite the criticism and lengthy list of recommendations from three Parliamentary Committees.”

He added, “The continued inclusion of powers for bulk interception and bulk equipment interference – hacking by any other name – leaves the right to privacy dangerously undermined and the security of our infrastructure at risk. Despite this, the Home Office stands by its claim that the Bill represents “world-leading” legislation. It is truly world-leading, for all the wrong reasons.”

The bill also requires the internet companies to keep a record of everything the users have searched for an entire year, which the Government can access on need.

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