The British government has been rendered capable of using the most powerful spying capabilities after the upper house of the U.K.’S parliament, the House of Lords passed the Investigatory Powers Bill. The legislation will see the British government in possession of the new surveillance privileges which will be unrivaled across the whole world.
Many critics have deemed the bill as Snooper’s Charter, the bill will ensure that companies that provide internet services store the records of their users for a duration of up to one year. The bill will allow the government and it’s agencies including the law enforcement to access this records and also force the companies to hack into the various products that users are using, if deemed necessary; the government in collaboration with this companies will be in a position to monitor users. As if that’s not enough, the government will also be in a position to allow the companies to make the devices less secure thus allowing the government to intercept communications between users.
The investigatory bill will also allow the government to mandate companies to encrypt their devices if deemed necessary.
In a report issued by the Independent, the passed Bill contains numerous changes that will massively impact the average user while giving the British government enormous spying power.
There have been several companies in the Tech industry that have disputed the bill; such include Twitter and Apple. The representatives from the United Nations and senior parliamentary committees have heavily criticized the bill.
The has been various unfair changes and amendments to the bill, coming from the Members of Parliament who amended the bill to exempt themselves from being spied on.
The bill will grossly violate the basic human rights since it aims at targeting companies such as Whatsapp which has more than one billion users, this implies that there will be massive and widespread surveillance.
In a statement made by Edward Snowden, he made in clear that this approach stems from Nazism; many have rationalized this gross invasion of privacy saying that they have nothing to hide and hence the hardly care about the bill. However, privacy has nothing to do with something that one is hiding, It’s about something that one is protecting. In contrast, saying that you don’t care about this invasion of privacy is similar to saying that you don’t care about free speech since you have nothing to say.
The bill is now awaiting the Royal Assent which is the approval and signage from the Queen for it to become a law in the United Kingdom.