This is deeply disturbing.
It seems Labour has helped the Tories gain a right to snoop on all of us, for the sake of a few concessions that may not be worth the paper they’ll be written on.
Just how, exactly, does the Parliamentary Labour Party expect privacy to be at the heart of legislation that allows bulk interception of communications and collection of data, and bulk hacking into our computers?
The whole point of the Investigatory Powers Bill (its real name) is to deprive us of our privacy.
Perhaps a Labour spokesperson should come forward and explain how this oppressive legislation is supposed to be in anybody’s interests, other than those of the Conservative Government and big business?
What a betrayal.
On 7 June a bill passed in parliament that threatens the fundamental rights of everyone in the UK. But it seems that only around 25% of the population is aware of its existence, giving MPs the opportunity to take an axe to our autonomy largely without our knowledge.
The Investigatory Powers (IP) bill, more commonly known as the Snoopers Charter, passed through its latest stage in the commons by 444 to 69 votes. Its success was sealed when many Labour MPs chose to support it after winning some concessions to the government’s spying proposals, including:
An overarching privacy clause to ensure that privacy is at the heart of the Bill
Although this a comforting soundbite, it’s deceptive. Privacy is indeed at the heart of the IP bill, but it will destroy privacy rather than protect it. It is designed to secure immense surveillance powers for the UK’s security services, and other public bodies. The proposals include allowing bulk interception of communications, bulk collection of communications data – meaning ‘metadata’ which is essentially the data about data – and bulk equipment interference– aka hacking.
Indeed, ‘bulk’ gathering of information seems to be a major point of the IP bill. As Bella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, explains:
This Bill would create a detailed profile on each of us which could be made available to hundreds of organisations to speculatively trawl and analyse. It will all but end online privacy, put our personal security at risk and swamp law enforcement with swathes of useless information.
Home Secretary Theresa May has agreed to have an independent review of these ‘bulk’ powers undertaken. This review will be headed by David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Essentially, he is tasked with investigating whether collecting the electronic information of everyone is a beneficial way of fighting crime.
But as The Intercept has recently reported even the UK spies themselves have warned that collecting to much information is dangerous. The publication released a secret report from the UK’s security service, which stated that MI5:
can currently collect (whether itself or through partners …) significantly more than it is able to exploit fully… This creates a real risk of ‘intelligence failure’ i.e. from the Service being unable to access potentially life-saving intelligence from data that it has already collected.
The IP bill aims to put these deficient data practices on a statutory footing, to legitimise them. But many argue that targeting specific communications, rather than scooping up information on everyone, is a better way to fight crime. It would also ensure that most individuals retain the liberties afforded to them under multiple human rights conventions.
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