Insights & Analyses

Controversial internet surveillance law passes UK parliament, to become law

November 17, 2016

Despite widespread concern about the implications of the law, which would require internet service providers to retain information about customers’ online activities, the U.K. parliament approved the “Investigatory Powers Bill” this week.

Following the affirmative vote, the bill must be approved by the Queen before it becomes a law, according to The Register. Critics contend that the British law would be among the most aggressive in the modern world, severely infringing upon citizens’ civil liberties.

Once it becomes law, internet customers in the U.K. will need to record and retain every customer’s top-level web activity for up to a year. Numerous government departments will be able to access the information.

The bill also allows for hacking protections, requiring companies to decrypt data on demand so that information can be accessed.bansky_one_nation_under_cctv

Companies will also be required to disclose new securities features in products before they launch, potentially undermining enhancements and giving hackers an opportunity to jump on exploits.

The unprecedented nature of the sweeping bill has led critics to dub it the “snoopers’ charter.”

Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group, went as far as to tell Zero Day that he views it as the “most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy.”

The new law is expected to be enacted via royal assent in the coming weeks.