Allowing security services to access encrypted messages would also open the door to hackers and criminals, says a former counter-terrorism officer.
On Sunday (March 26) Home Secretary Amber Rudd said intelligence services must be able to access relevant information on encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp, as Khalid Masood appeared to have used the app moments before he launched an attack on Westminster.
Former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge told Sam Delaney1 it would be dangerous to “open up this so-called ‘back door of encryption'” to allow a security service access, as “you also put that weak system there to be exploited, not just by our security services, but also by hackers and criminals.”
He also said pointed out that Masood wasn’t on MI5’s ‘top 3,000’ list of terror suspects, which “suggests very much that if the intelligence services did have the power to monitor somebody s WhatsApp messages, they wouldn t have been monitoring his anyway.”
Listen to the full interview above
Security has been enhanced around Windsor Castle1 ahead of the Changing The Guard ceremony following the Westminster terror attack2. Barriers were put in place around the royal residence in Berkshire on Monday evening to support existing road closures, Thames Valley Police3 said. The force said the changes were proportionate and necessary but that there was no specific threat to Windsor ahead of the next Changing The Guard on Wednesday.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Hardcastle said: While there is no intelligence to indicate a specific threat to Windsor, recent events in Westminster clearly highlight the need for extra security measures to be introduced.
The force believes that it is proportionate and necessary to put in place extra security measures to further protect and support the public and the guard change.
Preventative measures such as these have been put in place across the UK over the past 10 years at various events.
The national threat level remains severe, which it has been since 2014, and I would urge the public to be alert to the threat of terror attacks but not alarmed, and to remain vigilant. The colourful military spectacle takes place at Windsor Castle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in March and every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in April, weather permitting. Tourists flock to see soldiers in their red tunics and bearskins processing to and from the historic building to the sound of a military band.
The new barriers will only be used to secure the route of the procession during the event and will remain open at other times.
THE former Metropolitan Police Commissioner claims the “soft” outer ring of security at the Palace of Westminster must be enhanced after a video showed the complex’s gates were left open and apparently unmanned after Wednesday’s terror attack. The footage shows the aftermath of the assault on New Palace Yard which left PC Keith Palmer mortally wounded. As armed officers swarm the cobbled forecourt, having shot dead terrorist Khalid Masood, the imposing iron gate which allows vehicles to enter can be seen wide open.
Pedestrians are shown walking past and at one stage a courier on a moped appears to enter unchallenged.
Blair told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I am absolutely certain that there will be a review now of the outer soft ring that those of us who work at the Palace of Westminster are very used to.
“Always behind it is the inner core of armed officers, but PC Keith Palmer has paid with his life for that soft outer rim and I think that his family at least, and everybody else, needs the reassurance that will be reviewed.”
Blair refused to criticise the officers who apparently left the gate unguarded, describing them as “human beings” who will have been “gripped completely” by the attack while knowing the “cavalry” of armed officers was on its way.
But he added: “I’m absolutely certain that there will have to be changes.
“People are used to the fact that if they go into Downing Street4 they are confronted by basically closed gates and armed officers and I’m afraid that’s what will have to happen, but we’ll leave it to the reviews to see what it is.
“But I don’t think there should be shock horror about the fact the gates were open for a moment after that kind of attack.”
Evans described the outrage as “one of those things that by experience you learn” from.
He revealed that “lots” of MPs locked in the Commons chamber during and after the attack were discussing how to boost security in certain areas, but said far more checks are carried out at Carriage Gates than we he was elected in 1992 and a “bobby” would just “wave you through”.
The Tory MP said: “I’ve got no doubts whatsoever that there will be enhanced features of security, it’s happening on a regular basis, but following this tragedy security has got to be upped at the same time as still having a welcoming hand to members of the public to come and see how democracy works.”
Parliamentary authorities and the police are carrying out a review of security in the wake of the atrocity.
The complex’s main entrance has two sets of large metal gates allowing vehicles to go in and out of the estate and they have traditionally been left open during the day.
A pair of smaller, makeshift gates was introduced more recently with two police officers at each to check passes and allow cyclists, cars and delivery drivers to come and go.
Just inside the entrance gate, armed police are usually present and an unarmed officer sits in a booth by the exit.
Electronic ramps are depressed and barriers lifted further into the courtyard after passes are checked using handheld machines which flash up with a picture of the pass holder .
MPs’ vehicles are also checked for bombs before they can access the underground car park where the Tory MP Airey Neave was blown up in 1979.