On 4th November 2015, UK Home Secretary Theresa May released new rules that would give government intelligence agencies power to snoop on private data of UK citizens.
The bill which was laid out in a 299-page document outlined the amendments the government wants to make regarding the interception as well as hacking of devices and computers so as to seamlessly access information when probing a case.
Developers of Tor (Tor is an anonymous browser that hides users’ IP addresses), claim that the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka snoopers’ charter) will “harm” people safety as it requires the storage of personal data.
This threat comes alongside a caution from defence experts that the idea will likely become obsolete within five years.
Tor said this bill is a humanitarian risk, especially when it comes to human rights defenders and people who are dependent on anonymity for their protection.
Most of Tor users are human rights defenders and rely on anonymity for their protection and the new law could mean information about these individuals is accessible by anyone.
If passed in its current form, the new bill will require Internet companies to store people’s communication data for up to 12 months for access by the police and security services.
According to Tor, large-scale data leaks and security breaches indicate that companies are not ready to store such personal data.
As Tor explains, most large data companies don’t have effective measures to protect computer systems from attacks, particularly when the attacker with the government backing is a possible threat.
Warning from Tor was accompanied by evidence from the British aerospace, security, defence, and space industries that the pace of technological innovation will be rendered obsolete and will require revision within five years.
The coalition has also warned that the bill’s provisions will interfere with the rights to privacy and freedom expression.
They also warned that the implementation of the bill will have far-reaching consequences for the whole world since other countries will emulate the UK’s policies.
Tor views the bill as a trade-off between surrendering powers to law enforcement and government intelligence agencies in exchange for taking away human rights defenders ability to protect themselves. Google, Facebook, Twitter Microsoft, and Yahoo have also blasted the so called “Snoopers’ Charter,” terming it a threat to the people.
The five Internet giants highlighted fears over the conflicting legal obligations the proposed bill would raise.
Their submission to parliament stated that it is the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens and their privacy.
Apple has also voiced its concern regarding the bill.
The company cautioned the UK government against weakening the security of their products.
The association of tech companies also warned there are risks if warrants are served on firms based outside the UK via their employees working there.
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