Brits’ new Surveillance Law will be a global model – for repression

Civil rights advocates are up in arms over a sweeping new digital surveillance law in the United Kingdom, and not just because they say it intrudes on the privacy of people in the U.K. Some worry that the law sets an example other democratic nations will be tempted to follow.

The legislation…is called the Investigatory Powers Act (or, by its critics, the “Snooper’s Charter”). It enshrines broad new authority for U.K. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct online surveillance, hack into devices deemed relevant to investigations, and make technology companies provide access to data about their users — even by forcing them to change the design of products. It also gives investigators the authority to use these powers in “bulk,” meaning they can access large data sets that may include information about people not relevant to investigations. They can even hack into devices owned by people who are not suspects in a crime.

…The most high-profile fight is over a new authority for the government to compel Internet service providers to retain “Internet connection records”—including websites visited or mobile apps used, the times they were accessed, and the duration of use — for up to 12 months for all their customers. Investigators won’t need a warrant from a judge to access this data. “There is no state in the Western democratic world that has anything similar,” says Eric King…former deputy director of Don’t Spy on Us, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations that advocates for surveillance reform…

Brazil and Australia have also recently instituted data retention laws. The U.S. has not, but the U.S. Department of Justice has advocated for mandatory data retention before, as have members of Congress. After the Snowden revelations, President Obama issued a policy directive limiting bulk data collection by the federal government itself. But Donald Trump could rescind that or work with Congress to require Internet service providers to retain data so investigators could access it later—a step that would be modeled on the U.K. legislation. “If the Trump administration wants to expand its surveillance powers, or seek sanction for more aggressive use of its existing powers, it could unfortunately point to the U.K.’s new law as precedent,” says Camilla Graham Wood, Privacy International’s legal officer.

RTFA for a peek at the brave new world brought to us in part by fools who vote for phonies like Donald Trump. That doesn’t exempt the chickenshit Establishment of Democrats and Republicans who roll over and stick all four feet into the air every time some surveillance pimp prattles about fear.

Fallout from Snowden revelations: “Snooper’s charter” probably won’t become law in the UK

The chances of Theresa May reintroducing her “snooper’s charter” communications data bill are practically zero in the wake of the Guardian’s disclosures on the scale of internet surveillance, leading Tory and Labour civil liberties campaigners have said…

…The disclosure of the mass harvesting of personal communications, including internet data, by the American National Security Agency and Britain’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, had shown that the existing UK regulatory framework was completely ineffective.

David Davis said in particular that GCHQ’s Tempora operation, which harvests global phone and internet traffic by tapping into the transatlantic fibre-optic cables, had “put up a big red flag” indicating it was time to think again from scratch about the legal oversight arrangements.

He said it was necessary to look at ways of rewriting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which sets out the legal oversight arrangements for the interception and surveillance of communications.

But the former shadow home secretary and staunch Eurosceptic also praised the efforts of Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for justice, who wrote to the foreign secretary, William Hague, on Wednesday giving him until the end of the week to answer the charge that the fundamental rights of citizens across Europe were being flouted…

Tom Watson said he shared Davis’s analysis of the poor prospects for the reintroduction of May’s communications data bill, which would require internet and phone companies to store for up to 12 months data tracking everyone’s use of email, phone and internet.

Both were speaking at a packed Commons meeting organised by the Open Rights Group on the disclosures on Prism, the US surveillance programme, and GCHQ’s Tempora programme, based on documents from the American whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

The foreign secretary earlier this week defended Britain’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the US, saying it operated within the rule of law and arguing that terrorists, criminals and foreign intelligence agencies plotted against it in secret…

Certainly useful to hear that Parliamentary politicians in the UK are upset and angry over invasions of privacy by the United States and their own government. Upset enough to put a halt to immediate plans to bring communications up to the level of “legal” snooping common in the United States.

Interesting to learn there has already been a meeting of Commons to discuss remedies to the disclosures of Prism and the government’s Tempora program. Helluva comparison to our Congress which only demonstrates hurt feelings over being left out of the loop – and couldn’t care less about the privacy of our own citizens.