Snooper’s Charter and the Digital Economy Bill: INCOGNITO CAN’T SAVE YOU NOW….

Posted By on Nov 25, 2016 | 0 comments


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First they came for the Marmite, and I did not speak out – because I don’t really like Marmite.

Then, they came for the Toblerone, and I did not speak out – because I never really buy Toblerones to be perfectly honest.

Then they came for my freedom to watch porn anonymously…

……………………………

With a series of decisions so far described variously as Orwellian, draconian, and terrifying, the British government appears hell-bent on adding your online freedom and privacy to the ever growing list of casualties of 2016.

But is it all as bad as it seems? Let’s have a look.

Snooper’s Charter

Last week, the Investigatory Powers Bill – an evolved form of Theresa May’s now six-year-old brainchild, the Draft Communications Bill (or Snooper’s Charter as it became known) – passed into law.

The bill gives the government unparalleled powers of surveillance including, but not limited to:

– Requiring ISPs to keep a record of every user’s online activity for at least 12 months – records that must be given (an decrypted) to government agencies upon presentation of a warrant, and

– Giving various groups including the police and intelligence agencies new powers to remotely access your online devices, and to collect data both on an individual and bulk level.

This means that a record every website you’ve visited and every online service you’ve used in the past year will now exist on a database somewhere. Even if you’re in incognito mode. So those surprise parties you’ve been booking, or that secret present shopping you’ve been hiding from your wife may not be so secret after all…

The list of agencies who could, in theory, access your internet history should they be able to provide sufficient reason to do so is rather long.

Now you’d be forgiven for not being completely taken by surprise at these powers being granted – particularly since British intelligence agencies were found to have been unlawfully collecting data on citizens for more than 15 years just two weeks before this bill was passed.

But make no mistake – the explicit legalisation of this is unprecedented. Just ask everyone’s favourite whistleblower Ed Snowden:

The UK has just legalized the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes farther than many autocracies. https://t.co/yvmv8CoHrj

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 17, 2016

Now, before we go any further, let’s make it clear that this bill was devised with the aim of improving counter-terrorism work, as well as cracking down on online sharing of images and videos of child sex abuse (among other things).

It was not devised so that Theresa May can record what you’re watching while you play solitaire.

He does it…

In fact she’s more concerned with what you eat, if you ask Snowden:

Theresa May’s plan for the UK seems to be about expanding access to mass surveillance while limiting access to marmite.

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 17, 2016

The real issue at hand is one of a trade off, however – how much of your privacy are you […]

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