Do you miss the good old days of Internet privacy? If you don’t, you should! After December 30, 2016, the UK IP bill was put into action by the UK’s government, starting the new age of mass surveillance, or Internet surveillance.
The mass surveillance in the UK is no new concept, and it has been around since the Victorian era. However, with the passage of time, the system of surveillance has been refined to perfection, making it more extensive and efficient.
The UK IP Bill, aka Investigatory Powers Act 2016 or snooper’s charter bill, empowers telecommunication companies or ISPs to retain the online activities of Internet users and store it up to 1 year for legal proceedings.
The UK investigatory powers bill also allows law enforcement agencies to break into a user’s device to access its private data. The bill also restricts companies from using encryption on their consumer applications.
Draft Communications Data Bill: Where It All Began
A Draft Communications Data Bill was the first of its kind in the history of mass surveillance, proposed by Theresa May, former Home Secretary and the current Prime Minister of the UK.
The bill required ISPs to retain the Internet activities of their users, including their browsing history, app usage, social media usage, voice mails, online conversations, etc.
Luckily, the draft was never forwarded due to the former Deputy Minister voting out his support.
However, in November 2015, the bill was forwarded again as Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The bill attracted a huge public outcry in the UK with users tweeting against it.
That's it, the #IPBill has gone thru and will soon be an Act. We've given our security services unprecedented powers to spy on us.
— Jenny Jones (@GreenJennyJones) November 16, 2016
So. The IP Bill has passed. Is this the death sentence for adequacy under EU DP Law for post Brexit UK? Still astounded no-one abt this.
— Lilian Edwards (@lilianedwards) November 17, 2016
If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing… but a fallacious argument. IP Bill passed, no other "modern" society as repressive as UK. https://t.co/SaE7jHkoLY
— Marek Isalski (@maznu) November 16, 2016
Even after a huge uproar against the bill, the UK mass surveillance bill still came into effect after being passed by the Houses of Parliament as well as the Queen.
What Public is Now Saying about the UK IP Bill?
Ever since the IP Bill was passed, there have been many developments which made the public take to twitter again to express their concerns:
Amber Rudd's words are even more chilling when you consider that the IP Bill allows the UK to secretly force WhatsApp install a back door. https://t.co/sCCebD1ccT
— Eva (@evacide) March 26, 2017
A dark day for Britain
The IP bill will essentially remove UK citizens’ right to privacy. It will force internet… https://t.co/wMSS85YIpi
— Suzanne Arnold (@suzstoryweaver) May 2, 2017
— Ian Fraser (@Ian_Fraser) April 27, 2017
Impact of the New Snooper’s Charter UK Bill on Privacy
- For starters, your privacy will be left at the mercy of the law enforcers or security agencies
- You will not be able to use your rights to freedom of speech because of privacy concerns
- You will not be able to browse privately as you will always fear someone watching your Internet activities
- Your devices will be vulnerable to hacking
- You will never be able to make private conversations over your phone due to lack of encryption
- And the list goes on…
How to Fight the UK Mass Surveillance Bill
Encryption, encryption and encryption.
As mentioned on this blog and all over the internet, the UK IP Bill not only allows the ISPs to inspect and store our data for up to 1 year, but it also allows the security agencies to hack into our devices at their will. Therefore, the best way to prevent intrusion or hacking is by installing a VPN encryption.
Users in the UK, or in the rest of the world for that matter, should also keep their private stuff off the Internet to prevent any kind of privacy breach. Sensitive materials or data on your computers should be kept in a folder locked with a complex password.
Social media or email accounts should be reinforced with 2-factor authentication to minimize the danger of being hacked.
The Terrible Future of Privacy in the UK
On May 5, 2017, a government draft was leaked and a digital rights group made it go viral in just a few hours. According to the draft, the UK is predicted to experience “extreme surveillance” in the coming future. If the leak bill is passed, the law enforcement agencies would be able to conduct real-time surveillance of any user in the UK.
The leaked bill shows how bleak the future of privacy is in the UK. It is high time to stand against this and other similarly ridiculous bills and take back our right to privacy.