These Are the World's Biggest Problems With the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

By Gary Cutlack on at

The country's own defence and security industry has told MPs that the Snooper's Charter, AKA the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, is already looking like it'll be partially outdated before it arrives, thanks to the speed at which our tech landscape is evolving.

The warning comes via a submission to a committee of MPs made by a group of industry and aerospace companies, who say that: "Increasingly, communications service providers simply act as ‘dumb pipes’, transferring data that they cannot process or understand."

The letter adds: "This does not mean the legislation is not viable or needs revolutionary change. It simply means that it is likely to have a shelf life. There are likely to be such significant shifts in the technological landscape over the next few years... that it will be necessary to revise the law again in the not too distant future."

A strongly worded joint submission to the same committee from tech behemoths Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo has also been published, where the US giants say: "...we are concerned that some of the authorities contained in the Bill, as currently drafted, represent a step in the wrong direction. The clearest example is the authority to engage in computer network exploitation, or equipment interference. To the extent this could involve the introduction of risks or vulnerabilities into products or services, it would be a very dangerous precedent to set, and we would urge your Government to reconsider."

Meanwhile, Vodafone has said it's likely to lead to "undermining trust" of the population, Apple's Tim Cook has warned of "dire consequences" of allowing special back door access to communications, plus Human Rights Watch says it "weakens everyone’s security online" when encryption is purposefully breached.

And with the MPs themselves seemingly not entirely sure if some of it is even possible, the Investigatory Powers Bill is likely to be one of the UK's trademark nightmarish administrative cock-ups that'll drag on for years, should it happen at all. Lovely. [Guardian]

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