In light of the recent terrorist attack in Paris, David Cameron has urged that we fast track the proposed UK surveillance law, known to some as the “Snooper’s Charter”. Many other politicians including Boris Johnson and Lord Carlile have both said they are firmly behind the new proposal. This proposed bill will give the government the power to collect citizens’ web records, and to potentially read unencrypted communications, this was due to be debated sometime next year unless it is sped up and then formed into law.
- allow ministers to retain the power to sign off warrants for intrusive surveillance
- permit internet and communications companies to retain customer usage data for up to a year
- protect the ability of GCHQ and MI5 to bulk collect communications data and to hack in to a suspect’s electronic device
The bill did also include to ban or restrict some types of encryption, which could potentially lock out security services out of some parts of cyber space due to advanced security measures.
John Dempsey, forensic computer course leader at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “This bill is an attempt to balance the need for increased security with the public’s privacy rights. Unfortunately, though, the people with things to hide will try to hide them using various encryption technologies and private networks. Therefore, the bill in its current format probably won’t make any further impact on those who are actively trying to hide things, leaving only the typical Internet user having their data captured.”
So what does this mean for us? Well there will be no visible change in any platforms that we use to communicate or send any data from, this is going to be on applications such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. These two platforms do both used encrypted data to send messages between users and if they don’t comply with the new legislation that could be banned from the UK all together. Apart from this there is no doubt that the government’s increased powers will add to the paranoia amongst the general public and in particular the younger generations.
The danger of this new power is that it could lead to there being more secure communications, making it even more difficult for the government to control. This could lead to further tightening of security and further restrictions on what data can and can’t be encrypted.