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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The UK Is About to Legalize Mass Surveillance [Update] (vice.com)

On Tuesday, the UK is due to pass its controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, according to the Home Office. 

The Act, which has received overwhelming support in both the House of Commons and Lordsformally legalizes a number of mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013.
It also introduces a new power which will force internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months.
 Civil liberties campaigners have described the Act as one of the most extreme surveillance laws in any democracy, while law enforcement agencies believe that the collection of browsing data is vital in an age of ubiquitous internet communications.
 "The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need in a digital age to disrupt terrorist attacks, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight," a statement from the Home Office reads.
 Much of the Act gives stronger legal footing to the UK's various bulk powers, including "bulk interception," which is, in general terms, the collection of internet and phone communications en masse. 
In June 2013, using documents provided by Edward Snowden, The Guardian revealed that the GCHQ taps fibre-optic undersea cables in order to intercept emails, internet histories, calls, and a wealth of other data.
Update: "Snooper's charter" bill has become the law. The home secretary said:

"The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation, that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection. 
"The government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement and security and intelligence services have the power they need to keep people safe. 
The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge. 
But it is also right that these powers are subject to strict safeguards and rigorous oversight."

Here is why it is totally ridiculous to think that we are being kept "safe" by allowing the watchers to intrude into our privacy.

The bad guys are not us and the bad guys are using a method of communication that is all but impossible to detect or prevent. And it is not the internet.

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