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Is WhatsApp actually getting banned?

Kate Lloyd

Time to start sending pictures and voice messages like there's no tomorrow; WhatsApp might be getting banned. Here's everything you need to know. 

Wait - the government actually want to ban WhatsApp?

It's a side effect of the Communications Data Bill that David Cameron announced his support for in January. It was blocked by the Liberal Democrats during the Coalition.

What's the bill?

It's also known as the 'Snoopers' Charter' and it demands that communication services keep logs of customers' conversations for at least 12 months after they've happened. Because #terrorism.

What's up with WhatsApp?

When you send messages via an internet service or app like WhatsApp, iMessage, Snapchat and Skype, they're encrypted. It means no-one can find out what you've been talking about. The government want to ban these services, because they think terrorists could be using them to communicate unmonitored.

And text messages aren't encrypted?

Nope. They're sent over a phone network, which means they can be intercepted.

Is the bill actually going to pass though?

Theresa May's planning to push it through government in the next few weeks. And, because the Conservatives have a majority now it's likely to be successful and come into force by 2016.

And then there'll definitely never be WhatsApp ever again?

Well, it's hoped that the apps will change their policies to meet the new restrictions, but because a lot of them are US apps it's actually not that likely.

Hang on - this feels like a bit of an invasion of my right to free speech...

I guess it depends how you weigh it up. Blocking the services might stop rare but awful terrorist attacks, so banning them is kinda in the public interest. But then again, most of us aren't terrorists and this'll take away not only our ability to send free picture messages, but also a way to communicate without feeling like the government is watching us. So yeah, it kinda is. 

Oh my god, I'm going to have to care about my phone contract policies again…

Yep, let's pray you have unlimited texts.

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