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New Police Powers in UK Surveillance Legislation

A new surveillance bill giving much stronger powers to various security agencies will be introduced by Theresa May next month.  November 4th will see the release of the new Investigatory Powers Bill which will force telecoms and internet service providers to retain their customers web browsing for 12 months.   To blunt the complaints from the ISPs, they will be paid to cover the extra costs involved in storing and handling all this data.

The access to this sensitive data will only be granted to police, intelligence agencies, National Crime agency and the HM Revenues and Customs.  So in reality it means thousands of people with links to any of these agencies will potentially be able to see what you were doing online over the last year.

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The measures are fairly similar to the previous Communications Data Bill(popularly known as the Snoopers Charter) which was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.  Again the new bill is far reaching and covering pretty much all web activities from email to web browsing and even Facebook and Twitter.  It sounds like there will be no exceptions and all platforms and everyone of us will be included.

Remember they are just proposals.

The justification is of course fairly predictable, terrorism, espionage and criminality. The ISPs are being paid not only to retain your emails, internet usage and other electronic communication but also to organise it and make it easily searchable to the various agencies.

There are of course many people who feel this is an unjustified invasion of privacy – here’s few of my objections.

  • You only spy on the innocent – people who have something to hide can and do encrypt their communications which won’t be accessible.
  • Can Governments be trusted with this huge and very personal data – I suggest not.
  • Is is justifiable to spy on millions of innocent in the small chance they’ll catch the odd ‘stupid’ criminal or terrorist.
  • Edward Snowden has shown us that security agencies have completely ignored privacy laws to this point, how can we trust them.