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Extraordinary Surveillance Legislation Passed in the U.K.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 21:59
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The Guardian

‘Snoopers law creates security nightmare’



The UK’s internet service providers will need to install new equipment to log their customers net habits


The “snooper’s charter” bill extending the reach of state surveillance in Britain was given royal assent and became law on Tuesday as signatures on a petition calling for it to be repealed passed the 130,000 mark.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, hailed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 as “world-leading legislation” that provided “unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection”.

But privacy campaigners claimed that it would provide an international standard to authoritarian regimes around the world to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.

The new surveillance law requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months and give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data.

It also provides the security services and police with new powers to hack into computers and phones and to collect communications data in bulk. The law requires judges to sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records, but the measure has been described as “a death sentence for investigative journalism” in the UK.

The Home Office says some of the provisions in the act will require extensive testing and will not be in place for some time. However, powers to require web and phone companies to collect customers’ communications data will be in force before 31 December, the date when the current Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 expires.

The home secretary said: “The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation, that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection.

“The government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement and security and intelligence services have the power they need to keep people safe. The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge. But it is also right that these powers are subject to strict safeguards and rigorous oversight.”

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, responded to the home secretary’s “world-leading” claim, saying: “She is right, it is one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy. The IP Act will have an impact that goes beyond the UK’s shores. It is likely that other countries, including authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, will use this law to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers.”

He said the legislation was debated and passed while the public, media and politicians were preoccupied with Brexit: “Now that the bill has passed, there is renewed concern about the extent of the powers that will be given to the police and security agencies.

“In particular, people appear to be worried about new powers that mean our web browsing activity can be collected by internet service providers and viewed by the police and a whole range of government departments. Parliament may choose to ignore calls for a debate but this could undermine public confidence in these intrusive powers.”

The European court of justice is due to clarify its rulings on state surveillance shortly, in a case brought by the deputy leader of the Labour party, Tom Watson. The court’s ruling could lead to parts of the new legislation being declared unlawful and in need of amendment, including restrictions on how the personal confidential data involved can be used and accessed.

List of authorities allowed to access Internet connection records without a warrant

underlined means WTF WHY?

    Metropolitan police force

    City of London “world center for corruption & money laundering” police force

    Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996

    Police Service of Scotland

    Police Service of Northern Ireland

    British Transport Police

    Ministry of Defence Police

    Royal Navy Police

    Royal Military Police

    Royal Air Force Police

    Security Service

    Secret Intelligence Service


    Ministry of Defence

    Department of Health

    Home Office

    Ministry of Justice

    National Crime Agency

    HM Revenue & Customs

    Department for Transport

    Department for Work and Pensions??????

    NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services

    Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service

    Competition and Markets Authority

    Criminal Cases Review Commission

    Department for Communities in Northern Ireland

    Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland

    Department of Justice in Northern Ireland

    Financial Conduct Authority

    Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004

    Food Standards Agency

    Food Standards Scotland

    Gambling Commission

    Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

    Health and Safety Executive

    Independent Police Complaints Commissioner

    Information Commissioner

    NHS Business Services Authority

    Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust

    Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board

    Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation

    Office of Communications

    Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

    Police Investigations and Review Commissioner

    Scottish Ambulance Service Board

    Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission

    Serious Fraud Office

    Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust


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