WhatsApp have been accused of giving terrorists a ‘secret place to hide’ after they refuse to hand over the details of the Westminster attacker’s messages. But what are the implications if they were to cooperate overall. The privacy protections of the messenger app have been called into question but as a liberal society are we at risk of losing that identity if we hand extreme monitoring powers to the authorities?

Amber Rudd told Andrew Marr that the authorities must have access to WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging services that apply end-to-end encryptions.

Abuse of power

A liberal society must allow citizens that freedom to privacy from the government. It is vital for a society that baes itself on liberal principles to grow and thrive but the government have echoed those calls from Amber Rudd, that the police and intelligent services should be able to access messages with Rudd declaring “It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.”

The issue with allowing that kind of power to organisations, irrespective of the intentions, there always a chance that it could be abused. Whilst not everyone who works in those organisations would, there will be a few that would and it could also be abused by the government itself.

Opposition and civil liberties groups have spoken out against the government.

Policing society itself?

It does look as though the government are looking for any excuse to further monitor society because as far as authorities can tell, he acted alone, with the investigations ongoing. To propose and place stricter monitoring on encrypted messaging services would prove to be difficult because it would be using UK domestic legislation on global internet companies, largely based in the US.

The is little practicality to it.

Furthermore, to try and curb these kinds of privacies after an incident, that had little impact on London and the world., is over the top. If the government allow one man to dictate what policy they should enact to further security, it shows that they are becoming afraid. If you begin to monitor the internet in anyway, it risks opening an assortment of problems and could in the future cause further policing to the internet.

Of course, this is just an extreme scenario but it would open the possibility up and with The Great Repeal Bill after Brexit, that has a clause allowing the government to change any law for a set period. This would open several risks to what we call a liberal society. With any attempt at law to police internet privacy is a direct contradiction to the core British values of freedom of speech.