ARTICLE 19 have released this statement following UK Prime Minister, David Cameron’s pledge to block online messaging services that offer encryption under new surveillance legislation in 2016 if conservatives win the upcoming general elections. His comments follow the deadly attacks against the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo last week.
Thomas Hughes, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director said:
“Cracking down on end-to-end encryption would pose a severe threat to freedom of expression and the right to privacy. It would make internet users vulnerable to interception of their communications by criminals and expose them to routine surveillance by domestic and foreign intelligence agencies. We must not allow the Charlie Hebdo tragedy to be used as a justification to further erode our freedoms”.
“Mr Cameron seems to be suggesting that under new counter-terrorism plans, secure means of communication such as encrypted email like PGP and open source apps like Textsecure, Redphone, Signal, and Telegram could become illegal in the UK. Not only would this disproportionately restrict people’s right to privacy and undermine their trust in the internet, it would also seriously endanger human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, who rely on this technology to carry out their work”.
Other countries that have outlawed encrypted communication are Pakistan, Iran and Ethiopia, where six bloggers were arrested last year under the seriously flawed Anti-Terrorism Proclamation