UK authorities intercept Snapchat after Taliban claim – media


A British student was arrested and charged after claiming to be a member of the Taliban upon boarding a flight to Menorca.

In July 2022, before boarding his Easyjet flight from London Gatwick Airport to Menorca, Aditya Verma sent his friends a Snapchat message he would soon regret.

The message included a picture of himself with a caption that read, “On my way to blow up the plane (I’m a member of the Taliban), according to the Telegraph.

This then triggered a warning as the message was flagged by Gatwick Airport’s WiFi server.

The message was passed on to the UK security services as the plane flew over French airspace, elEconomista said.

Verma insists that he used his private network and not Gatwick’s WiFi.

However, it’s unclear whether the recipients of the Snapchat message were using the airport’s WiFi.

Upon landing, Verma was arrested by Spanish authorities and questioned for two days before being released on bail, said the Telegraph.

The teenager was then questioned by MI5 and MI6 when back in the UK before eventually returning to his home in South London.

Verma claims that the statement was a joke, and the analysis of his phone would support that statement.

The Civil Guard analyzed the teen’s phone and saw nothing relating to jihadist radicalism, according to elEconomista.

Verma’s defense team concludes that this action violated his right to privacy, as the statement was a “bad joke” made in a private digital environment.

The teen has been charged with public disorder, the fine for which is €22,500 ($24,000) if found guilty.

In addition to the initial fine, a compensatory charge of €95,000 ($103,000) for the Spanish F-18 fighter jets accompanying the plane.

Snapchat claims that a user’s snaps and chats, including voice and video chats, are private but its website doesn’t state whether they’re encrypted.

The platform has employed the “My Eyes Only” feature, which encrypts users’ Snapchat memories.

Governments and law enforcement worldwide are fighting end-to-end encryption to intercept potentially dangerous messages.

The UK’s National Crime Agency argues that end-to-end encryption, also known as E2EE, will hinder law enforcement’s ability to analyze reports and investigate claims of actual abusive content.

When a platform is E2EE, “law enforcement is no longer able to see that content, putting every single referral that we receive from that platform at risk,” it explained

Apple was recently one of the biggest tech companies to enable end-to-end encryption of 14 data categories, including passwords and healthcare.

The FBI was unimpressed with the change as the bureau views E2EE as a threat and prefers encryption that providers can decrypt when served with a legal order.

Cybernews has contacted Snapchat, but we’ve yet to receive a reply.