UK Passes “Terrifying” Internet Surveillance Law
Ashley Allen / 3 years ago
The Investigatory Powers Bill – colloquially known as the Snooper’s Charter due to its draconian approach to mass surveillance – has been passed by the House of Lords after four years of consultations and redrafting.
First proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May, then Home secretary, in 2012, the bill forces internet service providers to collect and store internet browsing histories for every user for up to a year, to be accessed by the government, police, and intelligence services without a warrant. There is no opt-out. If you live in the UK and you browse the internet, your data is being collected and is available to be viewed by not just security services, but government departments, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and Customs and Revenue.
The Snooper’s Charter has been attacked by all sides; tech companies, such as Google and Twitter, UK ISPs, and even Members of Parliament have all spoken out about the totalitarian proposals. Human rights group Liberty has opposed the Investigatory Powers Bill since its unveiling in 2012, and has remained in vocal opposition to it throughout its many revisions.
“We’ve said it, the tech experts have said it, even three Parliamentary committees have said it – the Investigatory Powers Act isn’t fit for purpose,” Liberty says. “And yet the Government ploughed ahead with a law that makes us all less safe, and less free.”
“It forces communications companies like Sky, BT, and Talk Talk to collect and hand over detailed records of everything you do online,” Liberty explains. “Details such as who you bank with, where your kids go to school, sexual preferences, your health worries – all of this could be logged, analysed and used to build an intimate picture of your life.”
In response to the bill being passed by the House of Lords – which is awaiting Royal Assent before becoming law – Liberty has announced that it intends to take the Government to court over a potential breach of human rights.
“Liberty has fought tooth and nail against this terrifying legislation, but the paucity of political opposition has been devastating,” the organisation declared in a press release. “The fight does not end here. Our message to Government: see you in Court.”
In the meantime, it’s time for UK readers to fire up their VPNs. Just make sure your service of choice doesn’t keep logs.