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UK: Investigatory Powers Bill passed

On November 16, 2016, the House of Lords approved the final version of the Investigatory Powers Bill – better known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’. The only remaining step before it becomes law is for the Queen to sign off on the bill. The new law means that ISPs must store more extensive Internet Connection Records (ICRs) by default, without the need for a warrant.

Until now, ISPs needed to see a warrant before logging what customers do online, and would only log for up to 12 months. With the introduction of the new law, ISPs will have to log everyone’s usage and record more extensive data including account reference, a source [Internet Protocol] and port address, a destination IP and a port address and a time and date. ISPs could be asked to collect even more data, if possible, but it would only be accessible with an interception warrant.

Jim Killock, from the Open Rights Group, said:

“The IP Bill will put into statute the powers and capabilities revealed by Snowden as well as increasing surveillance by the police and other government departments. There will continue to be a lack of privacy protections for international data sharing arrangements with the US. Parliament has also failed to address the implications of the technical integration of GCHQ and the NSA.

While parliamentarians have failed to limit these powers, the Courts may succeed. A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, expected next year, may mean that parts of the Bill are unlawful and need to be amended. ORG and others will continue to fight this draconian law.”

Once the data is collected, there will be many entities which will be able to access the data, including the Department for Transport, Department of Health, HMRC, NHS, Food Standards Agency, and the Gambling Commission. Additionally, the law will allow security services to hack electronic devices and put legal pressure on services that offer secure communication software to hand over communications data.

There are some people protected from this law, although it’s not clear how their internet traffic is distinguished. MPs, doctors, and lawyers can only be targeted by the law with the express permission of the Prime Minister. Trade union activities are also not a sufficient reason for the law to be used.

As a result of this law, the cost of storing this vast amount of data could be handed down to the customers, which would mean we’d literally be paying to be spied on!

Source: ISP Review

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