The UK government has revised the so called ‘Snooper’s Charter’ and it isn’t good news for fans of privacy I’m afraid.
According to the newly published plans for the Investigatory Powers Bill Police will be able to wade through more personal data than ever before.
The aim of the bill is to entrench the government’s ability to impose surveillance on citizens in law by the end of 2016, and would mean they can access anything stored in your browser history from the last 12 months.
Oh, and that includes data from private browsing too as that only prevents your computer from storing data, your internet provider would still keep a record that police could access.
As reported by The Guardian, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs:
This is vital legislation and we are determined to get it right. The revised bill we introduced today reflects the majority of the committees’ recommendations – we have strengthened safeguards, enhanced privacy protections and bolstered oversight arrangements – and will now be examined by parliament before passing into law by the end of 2016.
Terrorists and criminals are operating online and we need to ensure the police and security services can keep pace with the modern world and continue to protect the British public from the many serious threats we face.
Liberal Democrat Lord Strasburger, who was on the scrutiny panel of the original bill, says the government is failing to compromise.
The Home Office just doesn’t do privacy. It does security and ever more intrusive powers they claim will make us safer, but not privacy. The fact that they see simply changing the name of one section to include the word ‘privacy’ as addressing the fundamental concerns about privacy protections in this bill is breath-taking.
The speed with which the home secretary is trying to force this bill through parliament shows no respect to the joint committee and ISC who worked so hard to give them workable solutions to problems in the draft bill, to parliament, or to the British people.
Is mass surveillance a necessary price to pay for security, or is security a convenient excuse to garner support for mass surveillance?