Britain just did the unthinkable, pushing the limits of government power under the guide of protection. The government approved the most extreme, privacy killing surveillance law every passed in a democracy. This is not to be sugar coated, this is bad and the citizens of the UK have to understand what just happened.
The Draft Communications Data bill, also dubbed the “snoopers charter” by opponents, will give the government powers to monitor, read and access everything about someone and their online communications. Basically it allows the government to record everything you do online.
The law forces internet service providers to record every customer’s web history in real time for up to one year. That data can then be accessed by government departments for any reason. The law can force companies to de-crypt data on demand (including foreign companies), rendering encryption borderline pointless outside of transit, and force disclosure of security features in new products prior to launch. No more secrets, no more privacy.
The law doesn’t stop there. This will also grant the power to the government to actively hack computers and devices of citizens. This ability is masked as ‘equipment interference’. A different name doesn’t change what it is however.
The law was opposed by every single person with half-a-brain. The U.N., all major UK and global privacy groups, and Silicon Valley companies. There are built-in provisions in an attempt to control the use of these powers in this law but when the initiator is self-governing that tends to not work out in the long term.
Police investigations, crime prevention, and all the other excuses to make the citizens feel safe and protected are used to support this law. In reality this is what every privacy group, over-reaching-government growth, and individual rights oppression signs we all have been warned about. The UK is putting it into action.
How the law is used and when only time will tell. Unfortunately since the criminal investigations is the purpose of the law, law enforcement and investigation teams will use that as the excuse to not disclose an active investigation details and in turn will make public knowledge of the law’s new powers hard to monitor.
The next step I predict is outlawing personal encryption tools. Only encryption offered by the government, which they have the keys to, will be allowed.
1984 wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual.
End of line.
P.S. – V for Vendetta probably is closer to fact than fiction now.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.