There was widespread concern about privacy and Internet security after it was revealed the UK government planned to push through a bill which would give the likes of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ increased surveillance powers online.
Basically, the proposed new law would give British spies the freedom to hack into citizens’ phones and computers, which sounds very worrying indeed.
In response to the bill, tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo all promised they would notify users if it was suspected their account was being spied on by state-sponsored actors.
However, it appears the UK government aren’t too happy about that and reports now suggest they have subsequently added a new note to the bill which would actually see the bosses of any tech company which warns its users about government spying face up to two years in prison.
As reported by TechSpot, the new note to the bill says it “will ensure that a communication service provider does not notify the subject of an investigation that a request has been made for their data unless expressly permitted to do so”.
Many tech companies criticised the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka. ‘Snooper’s Charter’) when it was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in November – not least because it would require all tech firms to store users’ data for up to twelve months, including a record of every Internet site visited, and allow government agencies complete access to that data.
The bill is being put forward as a deterrent against terrorism but many fear the legislation would actually lead to less trust and weakened security.
Besides all sounding very Nineteen Eighty Four indeed, it should also be noted that online monitoring at this level has been banned in the U.S., Canada, and every other European nation. No wonder people are so worried!