The Snooper's Charter Just Became Law - And Now the Government Can Spy On Your Internet Activities

By James O Malley on at

Another day, another political disappointment that could have huge implications. Members of the House of Lords backed down on an amendment to it, meaning that with nothing else standing in the way, the Investigatory Powers Bill, the law that legitimates the sort of bulk surveillance Edward Snowden warned us about - and it will now become law.

The Investigatory Powers Act, as it will now be known has been a long time coming since it started life in 2014 under the coalition government - but now it has finally been passed, to the disappointment of privacy campaigners everywhere. Essentially, it means that governments will require ISPs to collect data on all of our online activity and store it for a year - so that it can be raked through by the security services when they want to look for terrorists.

Disappointingly, the only political party to consistently oppose it has been the Liberal Democrats (remember them?). The Tories strongly supported it, the SNP broadly abstained - and Labour were slightly all over the place, but ended up supporting it too.

The new law might sound like a good idea in principle, but here's the thing: Bulk collection doesn't actually work as a means of stopping terrorists, as NSA-whistleblower Bill Binney explained when describing the analogous American system.

And worse still, there are some very scary implications. The technology existing and being implemented also means that conceivably a future government could use the same system to turn Britain into a totalitarian nightmare state where all citizens are constantly monitored by the government. But hey, it's not like there have been any ominous signs of creeping authoritarianism recently... umm, right?

Why is the Investigatory Powers Act so bad? Find out here.

Britain just got a little less free.