The UK Government has pushed through with the controversial data communications bill named as Snooper’s Charter. The bill was originally drafted by Home Office Secretary Theresa May. After the elections last year, May and David Cameron (UK Prime Minister) have tried to rush the bill through the parliament.
There are several underlying factors of the bill that have sparked controversy among various security experts, lawyers, governmental agencies, and professors. The mass surveillance bill grants unlimited power and autonomy to spy on every individual living in Britain.
Underlying Concerns in Snooper’s Charter
According to TechDirt, more than 200 lawyers opposed this bill and have highlighted the following concerns, calling for substantial changes:
- The bill fails to meet any international standards for surveillance.
- The bill gives unlimited power to authorities for accessing electronic communications of individuals, which would compromise right to privacy and could be illegal.
- New surveillance bill does not specify any individual or target for surveillance, rather it targets groups, organizations, or anyone found suspicious.
- Based on this bill, no factual evidence or criminal records needs to be provided to make anyone suspect, thus emphasizing the above point.
Also, Snooper’s Charter fails to meet the international standards of European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights. Despite the several concerns and widespread criticism, the bill has been pushed through. One of the main reasons for this was that parties that were against this bill, decided not to vote instead of voting against it.
However, if the bill does go through, it will lead to breach of privacy and online security concerns. UK governmental agencies could access any part of your conversations, browsing history, phone call records, and much more. One of the ways to protect your privacy is through encrypting different parts of your communication. A VPN helps to safeguard your online activity while other encryption tools protect your voice and written electronic communications.