Regions

UK Mulls To Pass The Most Draconian Surveillance Laws of Any Democracy

March 3
8:40 AM 2016

The UK government is mulling to pass a bill that is believed to cripple WhatsApp and iMessage. The bill has been redrafted following criticisms from three committees of MPs, responsible for scrutinizing it.

The new draft of the Investigatory Power Bill includes a clause forcing tech operators to weaken their security followed by the spies' calls. The clause directs removal of end-to-end encryption technology. It allows services like WhatsApp, iMessage and FaceTime to communicate securely, reports The Independent.

The revised bill will force service providers to store browsing data for 12 months. It will also extend legal backing to bulk collection of internet traffic.

The draft bill consists of 300 pages. Through the bill, the government has apparently proposed a fundamental shift in the relationship between citizens, internet operators and the state.

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, predicts the bill will transform into law by the end of this year. Passing the bill means that the country has one of the most draconian surveillance laws of any democracy with mass surveillance powers to monitor every citizen's browsing history, reports BBCquoting the secretary.

If gets passed, almost every digital communication and movement will be logged by telecommunications companies. The logging information will be intercepted for scrutiny by the intelligence agencies.

The bill contains some of the most intrusive surveillance powers imaginable while some are not currently available in any other country in the world. Sacrificing cyber security at the cost of national security- The Guardian sketches the draft bill so simply.

A joint committee has been appointed to scrutinize the bill. The committee has taken 52 working days to consider the oral evidence of 59 people and 1,500 pages of written submissions. Two other committees have reviewed rapidly during the three short months between the publication of the Draft Bill and its introduction into Parliament.

The draft bill may lead to the outlawing of many of the world's most popular internet services or force products including Apple's iOS to be re-written from the ground up. Tech companies fear that the powers to weaken encrypted chat services may set precedence.

The UK Home Office argues, the new powers are required to fight terrorism while internet firms raise questions over practicality. However, the civil liberties campaigners outright the argument saying it clears the way for mass surveillance of UK citizens.

The UK government is trying to pass a bill that will force the tech operators to remove security features while enabling the law enforcers to decrypt data. A daily newspaper has narrated the move best through a single sentence- 'Sacrificing cyber security at the cost of national security'. The proposed bill has been predicted to transform into law by the end of September. 

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