The Investigatory Powers Bill has been passed in the House of Lords, beginning at the start of 2017.
Otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter, this bill confirms the security services’ right to online surveillance. It also demands that some companies have to keep people’s browser history for prolonged periods. This information could then be called upon, showing what sites you went to and who you spoke to.
The Government Communications Headquarters and MI5 have the right to hack into any of our electronic devices. There are a staggering 48 authorities that can request this information, including the Department of Health and HM Revenue.
The news of the bill has proved to be controversial and there are strong arguments for both sides.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has spoken of the importance of the surveillance:
“At a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement, security and intelligence services have the powers they need to keep people safe”.
The benefits of the bill are that security services should be able to stop terrorists in their tracks. By viewing their online activity, they will have more of an insight into the beliefs and plans of these individuals.
Some believe the bill is far too intrusive for those who don’t engage in illegal activity online. We have a right to our privacy and it is worrying some that this privacy is being taken away from us.
Many fear that the levels of surveillance in our community are increasing at a scary rate. A petition against the passing off the bill received over 100,000 signatures.
It seems that our privacy is the price we have to pay to be kept safe. However, it isn’t certain that these new powers will actually enable security services to better stop criminals and terrorists.
For now, the bill could have an effect on people’s willingness to engage in the online community.