Popular messaging services such as WhatsApp and iMessage will not be banned after the British government confirmed the upcoming Investigatory Powers Bill will not restrict encryption in the country.
The news comes as Home Secretary Theresa May outlined new powers that will primarily help target and combat paedophiles and terrorists online.
Critics had warned changes will affect the lives of everyone who uses everyday technology such as smartphones and tablets.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has more than 900 million active monthly. According to Apple, last year their device users sent over 300 billion messages using iMessage and the firm said it delivers an average of 28,000 messages per second.
The messaging services faced the prospect of a ban or at the very least stricter controls because its use of encryption makes it too private for the security services to access.
Both the US and UK governments had expressed growing concerns that criminals and terrorists are making use of such services to communicate, knowing that they are completely private.
It had been mooted that the Conservative government was looking to include an ‘end-to-end encryption ban’ – protecting people from hacking into private communications on services likes WhatsApp and iMessage – in the bill.
Instead the new legislation will see authorities have access to everything your phone and computer does. That information will then be stored for a year.
But the apparent step-down might be because the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which the new bill is intended to update, already gives the Government the power to access much of information.