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Security, surveillance and Snapchat

The UK is in a current state of fear after the recent attacks in Paris. Last year, our threat level was raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’ and many believe an act of terror is imminent.

With this in mind, it is understandable that the government will be working towards an increased level of security and intelligence in an attempt to prevent such attacks from occurring on our streets.

Prime Minister David Cameron has himself come up with a plan to block all communicative services that encrypts the data sent between users. Popular social messaging apps such as Snapchat, Whatsapp and iMessage will be amongst those that would no longer be accessible if his plans go ahead.

He said: “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read? My answer to that question is no we must not.”

What he wishes to re-introduce is the Snooper’ Charter, which will allow the police and intelligence services to monitor texts, emails and other such communications. It is also a method of taking away our freedom, freewill and free speech.

Ed Miliband reacted to Cameron’s idea saying: “It’s important for security services to keep up to date with technology, but it must be done in the right way with basic liberties protected”. I’d say Ed is talking a little more sense than David.

It’s all very well isn’t it but the power of terrorist organisations is being greatly underestimated. 9/11, which happened in 2001, took place in a time before the advent of the countless social networks and messaging apps we use today.

Whilst it is clear that these apps may aid in the organisation of such catastrophic events, it goes to prove that they are not a necessary part in the overall orchestration of terrorist attacks.

Also, there is a reason they are labelled as ‘terrorists’. They aim to invoke terror and if these ‘preventative measures’ are to be used, surely we are allowing them to dictate how we live our lives and in so doing, giving in to our fear and ultimately giving them what they want – power and control.

If you want to prevent an attack on the country, you’re going to have to delve a little deeper than five second ‘snaps’ or an instant message, even if there is a slight logic to what he’s saying.

However, we must not over react. Within minutes of David Cameron’s spiel there was an outcry on Twitter with people being outraged that they may never be able to send a message again.

We must understand that the only chance of this idea actually coming into practice is if Dave is re-elected in May and right now, he’s not being popularly favoured.