End to end encryption is a security measure in which the sender of a message encrypts the message in a way that only the intended recipient is able to decrypt it. This was first popularised by the software Pretty Good Privacy, the format of which is now defined in the OpenPGP standard, has in recent years been implemented in messaging systems such as whatsapp.
Suggestions to implement this technology more widely are meeting some resistance. An example of the oposition is discussed by the BBC:
The UK government and a coalition of charities are urging the British public to put pressure on Facebook not to introduce end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on its Messenger service.
The system is beloved by privacy-minded people as the data is safe from everyone. Even the messaging company is unable to decipher the data you send.
But authorities dislike it as they have no way of reading the messages, looking at the pictures or listening to the calls, even if they suspect criminal activity.
However Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 appears to be focused on exactly this problem, and is designed to provide exactly this right, and defined the procedure that must be followed in such cases.
Is this a correct reading of the act? Was it designed to allow the police to access end to end encrypted communication? Does in allow police access to whatsapp messages if they follow the defined procedure? Would it allow access to facebook messenger communications if such encryption was implemented in this software?