UK’s ‘Snooper’s Charter’ Wants to Follow Everyone Everywhere

SpyingLONDON – New legislation under consideration by Parliament would mean everything UK residents do online — social media, shopping, pornography, even email — will be tracked by the government.

Officially dubbed the Investigatory Powers Bill but more commonly called “Snooper’s Charter,” the all-encompassing spy legislation originally was trotted out in 2012 but dropped due to overwhelming opposition. Home Secretary Theresa May unveiled the latest version Monday.

Among the mandates, the new bill will require cellular operators and internet service providers to maintain comprehensive records of each connected individual’s activity for 12 months. Police and security agencies may access the data at any time without a warrant.

Prime Minister David Cameron is one of the bill’s primary proponents, but he and May face a potentially lethal-for-the-legislation backlash from civil liberties groups, who decry what they characterize as warrantless searches that violate existing UK law.

In the wake of recent, major cyberattacks on databases belonging to TalkTalk, Ashley Madison and others opponents also warn about entrusting corporations with private information.

However, governmental security experts said the legislation is necessary in a world where much of civilization’s communication occurs online.

“The world has moved on so quickly,” Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, told Sky News. “People communicate on many different means — whether it’s WhatsApp, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s email or telephone — so it’s really important that the laws keep up.”

 

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Sue Denim

Sue Denim

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