The UK government is pushing ahead with plans to update surveillance laws, despite criticism from privacy activists, communications firms and three.
Earlier today, the Home Office published the latest version of its Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed the “snooper’s charter”, which had been. “The revised bill is both clearer and stronger in protecting privacy,” said home secretary Theresa May.
Theattempts to clarify that a company will only be forced to remove “electronic protections”, such as encryption, that it has applied to users’ messages when it is “technically feasible” to do so. The earlier version suggested firms could be required to decrypt messages for which they do not have a key, .
This may still be the case, and will hinge on whether firms like Apple are deemed to applyto messages, or if a user does it themselves. End-to-end encryption means that even the software author (in this case Apple) does not have access to the key, only the two users communicating. But given the communication takes place on Apple’s platform, the government may be leaving itself some wiggle room.
The government has also not stepped back from its heavily criticised plans requiring communications firms to hold “internet connection records”, detailing users’ web history, for 12 months, for use by police and security services in investigations. The scope of these powers has actually been, not just illegal websites or communications services.
Security services will also still be permitted to hack phones and computers en masse to gather surveillance data in the new bill. The government refers to this as “bulk equipment interference” and it is a key issue for the new legislation, which seeks to clarify the legal basis for the kind of actions revealed by.
Critics say their concerns have not been listened to, and the government is attempting to rush through the legislation without proper scrutiny. “The bill published today continues to adhere to the structure and the underlying rationale that underpinned the draft IP bill, despite the criticism and lengthy list of recommendations from three parliamentary committees,” said Gus Hosein of Privacy International.
“The Home Office is treating the British public with contempt if it thinks it’s acceptable to rush a bill of this magnitude through Parliament,” said Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group. “If passed, it would mean that the UK has one of the most draconian surveillance laws of any democracy with mass surveillance powers to monitor every citizen’s browsing history.”
More on these topics:
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.