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SWEEPING UK SPY BILL DUBBED ‘SNOOPERS’ CHARTER’ BECOMES LAW

Big Brother

In Britain, Big Brother just got bigger. After months of wrangling, Parliament has passed a contentious new snooping law that gives authorities – from police and spies to food regulators, fire officials and tax inspectors – powers to look at the internet browsing records of everyone in the country.

The law requires telecoms companies to keep records of all users’ web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers.

Civil liberties groups say the law establishes mass surveillance of British citizens, following innocent internet users from the office to the living room and the bedroom.

Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited with inventing World Wide Web, tweeted news of the law’s passage with the words: “Dark, dark days.”

The Investigatory Powers Bill – dubbed the “snoopers’ charter” by critics – was passed by Parliament this month after more than a year of debate and amendments. It will become law when it receives the formality of royal assent next week. But big questions remain about how it will work, and the government acknowledges it could be 12 months before internet firms have to start storing the records.

“It won’t happen in a big bang next week,” Home Office official Chris Mills told a meeting of internet service providers on Thursday. “It will be a phased program of the introduction of the measures over a year or so.”

The government says the new law “ensures powers are fit for the digital age,” replacing a patchwork of often outdated rules and giving law-enforcement agencies the tools to fight terrorism and serious crime.

In a move taken by few other nations, it requires telecommunications companies to store for a year the web histories known as internet connection records – a list of websites each person has visited and the apps and messaging services they used, though not the individual pages they looked at or the messages they sent.

The government has called that information the modern equivalent of an itemized phone bill. But critics say it’s more like a personal diary.

Read more at Associated Press.

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10 Things You Can Do to Prep in 30 Minutes or Less

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Washington Post Names Drudge, Zero Hedge, & Ron Paul As Anti-Clinton "Sophisticated Russian Propaganda Tools"