Government Hoping Investigatory Powers Bill v2.0 is Toned-Down Enough to Stick

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The revised Investigatory Powers Bill is set to be unveiled today, with the ministers behind it hopeful that their tweaked version will be accepted in parliament and introduced in practice before the end of the year.

The measures detailed in the original bill caused outrage last year, as home secretary Theresa May wanted to force ISPs to maintain records of all UK citizens’ browsing history, which police officers and secret services would have been able to access for up to 12 months. That plan’s thankfully now been scrapped, and the new bill will propose that ISPs store Brits’ internet connection records instead.

The second version of the bill is also expected to rule that officers would need a warrant from the home secretary before launching intrusive spying operations, such as accessing emails, though a new Investigatory Powers Commission would be able to step in and veto such requests.

Tech firms, which essentially laughed at the original bill, would still be forced to decrypt materials, though only when it was 'practicable', while police officers and security services would need to get the green light from a senior judge before hacking systems in order to determine a journalist's source.

The measures have certainly been toned down, but they're still likely to attract criticism, especially if May -- who's been accused on multiple occasions of not understanding the internet -- fails to strike the right balance between privacy and security. [BBC]