British Prime Minister David Cameron revealed today that he would consider banning encrypted messaging apps if British intelligence agencies were not given special access the content exchanged on the services.
According to a report by the New York Times, Cameron asked rhetorically: “Are we going to allow a means of communication which it simply isn’t possible to read? My answer to that question is: ‘No, we must not.’”
Cameron’s words get to the heart of a debate over privacy in the digital age, which is increasingly compromised as we share more and more of our data online.
In Cameron’s view, access to such data is necessary for monitoring and thwarting potential terrorist attacks. He suggested that he may go after a ban or restrictions of services like Snapchat or WhatsApp in 2016, though, as the New York Times notes, it’s not clear how he would enforce these measures.