The UK plots to ban private messaging

UK’s media regulator Ofcom will get more surveillance powers than spy agencies under the Online Safety Bill, according to a legal analysis by the Index on Censorship organization.

The legislation would allow Ofcom to force tech companies to clamp down on “child abuse” and “terrorist content” by ending end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger and force all communications to be scanned.

Human rights lawyer Matthew Ryder, in a legal opinion commissioned by Index on Censorship, said that the powers that Ofcom would be afforded by the bill allow “allow the state to compel [tech companies] to carry out surveillance of the content of communications on a generalized and widespread basis.”

The regulator would not need prior authorization before making a demand to a tech company to scan messages and there would be no independent oversight over how the regulator uses its powers.

Ryder added: “We are unable to envisage circumstances where such a destructive step in the security of global online communications for billions of users could be justified.”

Communications by journalists, whistleblowers, and victims would no longer be safe. Additionally, it is not clear if Ofcom would make public the demands it issues or whether it would keep them secret.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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