As a controversial UK law goes into effect, ISPs will track their users’ every move.
This season of South Park poked fun at the idea of your internet history becoming available to the public, and the chaos that would undoubtedly follow as friends and family members began looking into each other’s secret online lives. It’s not quite as easy to laugh when hearing that in the UK, this is drawing closer to reality. The Investigatory Powers Bill, which was passed into law this week, will require Internet Service Providers to keep a full record of their users’ internet history. Every connection made will be logged and maintained for a year, in case the government wants to look at it.
Internet Connection Records (ICR) will be made available to a range of government agencies. Among those are law enforcement such as police, military and the secret service, but also the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, councils and the Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust. In total, 48 government bodies will be able to access the internet history of any user in the United Kingdom. As if this wasn’t bad enough, opponents of the bill claim it was written in haste and pushed through parliament in order to avoid as much scrutiny as possible. As a result, the opponents argue, the bill could be used to force technology companies to do almost anything, including breaking into devices they have sold in order to enable monitoring.
Despite nearly every major technology and internet company opposing the bill, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, the Investigatory Powers Bill saw almost no opposition in parliament before the house of lords passed it. The only amendment that the bill received was one which prevented the parliament members themselves from being spied on.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May was instrumental in passing the bill
While the UK has already turned itself into one of the most surveillance-focused nations in the world, with more security cameras than just about anywhere else, this latest bill compromises UK citizen’s privacy even more. For those arguing “I have nothing to hide”, one might as well make the argument that you do not need freedom of speech if you have nothing to say. Still, even looking past the concerns with having your government spy on you, with such huge amounts of data being collected, a hack could cause a lot of turmoil as well. If the ICR data were stolen or leaked, that season of South Park could become all too real.
source: The Independent