Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Attacks Snooper's Charter as Petition to Repeal Reaches 130,000

By James O Malley on at

A small glimmer of hope has emerged for civil libertarians everywhere as a petition encouraging the government to repeal the Snooper's Charter has hit the necessary number of names that will force MPs to consider the petition in Parliament - and the bloke who invented the thing you're reading this news on agrees with them.

The petition, titled "Repeal the new Surveillance laws (Investigatory Powers Act)", warns that "with this bill, they will be able to hack, read and store any information from any citizen's computer or phone, without even the requirement of proof that the citizen is up to no good."

"We can fix this before the UK is turned into a dystopian surveillance state", it says hopefully.

The Investigatory Powers Act officially passed through Parliament a couple of weeks ago - while the political world was distracted by Donald Trump winning. But hey, why should the unexpected rise of a demagogue give us pause about handing unprecedented surveillance powers to our political leaders?

The success doesn't mean that there will immediately be a vote to repeal the bill, but it gets it to the next step - in which it is presented to the 11 MPs on the petitions committee for consideration.

At the time of writing the petition is on 134,000 signatures - and even Tim Berners-Lee has waded in. Speaking to the BBC, he told Rory Cellan-Jones:

"This snoopers charter has no place in a modern democracy - it undermines our fundamental rights online. The bulk collection of everyone's internet browsing data is disproportionate, creates a security nightmare for the ISPs who must store the data - and rides roughshod over our right to privacy. Meanwhile, the bulk hacking powers in the Bill risk making the internet less safe for everyone."

Obviously Giz UK is, umm, completely unbiased, but if you would like to see the petition, to judge whether you are happy with the security services having unprecedented powers that could enable "turnkey tyranny", or whether you'd like to oppose this deeply illiberal invasion of everyone's privacy, you can see the petition here.