The United Kingdom is reviewing a proposed law that could really end private messaging in the country. Not popular with technical players. WhatsApp, Signal and Wikipedia have already said they plan to leave the country if he passes.
The bill has already reached committee stage in the House of Lords. It doesn’t have much to turn into law. By this summer, Brits could lose access to a wide range of private messaging apps, including Telegram. the Internet Security Billwritten by the ruling Conservative Party, would impose a raft of restrictions on online activity.
The bill enables OFCOM to effectively ban end-to-end encryption. OFCOM is the UK’s telecommunications regulator. If passed, the law would pose a serious threat to the privacy of UK citizens.
No more private messengers
Last month, WhatsApp, Signal, and other industry leaders expressed their concerns in a dossier open letter. “We do not believe that any company, government or person should have the ability to read your personal messages,” the statement read. The letter continued:
As currently drafted, the bill could break end-to-end encryption, opening the door to routine, public, and indiscriminate monitoring of the personal messages of friends, family members, employees, executives, journalists, human rights activists, and even politicians themselves, which would fundamentally undermine everyone’s ability to Communicate securely.
Signal and WhatsApp have already said that they plan to withdraw rather than comply with the new rules. Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram are all messaging apps that offer end-to-end encryption.
In the crypto community, Telegram is the most popular messaging app. Restrictions on its use potentially hinder the UK’s goal of becoming a cryptocurrency hub.
according to legal opinion By Matthew Ryder KC, submitted to Index On Censorship, the bill would give OFCOM “wider powers over the powers of mass surveillance of UK citizens than UK spy agencies”.
Bill will likely pass
In January, the bill was introduced to the House of Lords, the UK’s upper legislative chamber. If it passes, which is likely, the bill could be signed into law sometime over the summer.
The legislation will not only affect private messengers. It also forces tech companies to be responsible for keeping children safe online by blocking their access to harmful content and imposing age restrictions. Companies will have to remove “legal but harmful” content that is prohibited by the Terms of Service. Wikipedia objected vocally. would leave the UK rather than comply.
It took the bill four years and four prime ministers to get this far. The White Paper on Internet Harms, first published in April 2019, was the beginning. It began as a response to the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell in 2017, which highlighted the dangers posed by children’s access to online content that promoted self-harm. However, many believe the response was an overreaction.
Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has long had a more authoritarian approach to regulating the internet than its Western counterparts. Over the past decade, the party has attempted several times to regulate access to pornography.
If the bill passes, porn sites, including Pornhub, will have to implement age verification. Non-compliance can result in fines of up to 10% of the company’s worldwide revenue, or in severe cases, website censorship.
BeinCrypto has reached out to Telegram for comment, but did not receive a response before time.
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