More reports on: Defence general

Cameron pledges to deny secure communications to terrorists

13 January 2015

UK prime minister, David Cameron has pledged to bring in legislation aimed at denying terrorists a "safe space" in which to communicate, The Telegraph reported.

Speaking at an event in Nottingham, he said, "the first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe. The attacks in Paris once again demonstrated the scale of the terrorist threat that we face and the need to have robust powers through our intelligence and security agencies and policing in order to keep our people safe.

"The powers that I believe we need, whether on communications data or on the content of communications, I am very comfortable that those are absolutely right for a modern, liberal democracy."

With the current legislation on data set to expire in 2016, Cameron said, "The next government will have to legislate again in 2016. If I am prime minister, I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that makes sure we do not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with each other.

"That is the key principle: do we allow safe spaces for them to talk to each other? I say no, we don't, and we should legislate accordingly."

Services that allowed people to communicate without providing access to their messages posed a serious challenge to law enforcement efforts to combat terrorism and other crimes, PC World reported Cameron as saying yesterday.

Without mentioning specific apps, he suggested those with encryption would not jive with new surveillance legislation he would enact if he got reelected this year. These would include WhatsApp, iMessage, Google Hangouts, Microsoft's Skype, CryptoCat, and more.

''In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which, even in extremists ... that we cannot read?'' Cameron said, adding later, ''No, we must not.''

''The first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe,'' he said.

He did not say how the government might enforce the legislation or keep people from downloading such apps.

His comments come in the wake of shootings in Paris last week by Islamic extremists. According to Cameorn, being able to gather information about people's communications, be that communications records or actual content, could help authorities to thwart and investigate attacks.

His comments also come at a time when concerns over government surveillance are increasing as also the loss of digital privacy in general.


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