Lib Dems Promise to Roll Back Surveillance in the Unlikely Event They Get into Power

By Tom Pritchard on at

The chance of the Lib Dems managing to get a parliamentary majority are slim at best. Even the party's most die-hard supporters can't deny that fact. Still, the yellow party isn't letting that get in the way of their election campaign, promising to us all that a Lib Dem government means less spying on you and me.

According to The Guardian, the Lib Dems are very much against the recently enacted Investigatory Powers Act (aka the Snooper's Charter) which MP Alistair Carmichael referred to as a "full frontal assault" on the rights of British citizens. They even went so far as to refer to it as the digital equivalent of hiring a private investigator to follow everyone in the country and document everything they do.

Specifically the party is against storing peoples' 'connection records' (documenting which sites you visit, but not the pages within the site itself) and communications data - which only refers to the context of the conversation rather than anything that was actually said.

The Lib Dems have long been against this sort of surveillance, but the latest announcement comes shortly after documents detailing how the government would like the IPA to be enforced were leaked to The Register. Those documents revealed that the government wants ISPs to be able to hand over communications data within 24 hours of the initial request, and put an end to encrypted messaging.

Just how they plan to do that isn't clear, especially since most messaging services have adamantly refused to offer backdoor access to governments. It's probably a good thing that they don't, since we've only just seen how disastrous it can be when those sorts of exploits fall into the wrong hands.

The Lib Dems aren't likely to get a majority at next month's general election, and I doubt there would be any sort of coalition going on again. Regardless it's nice to see that some politicians have the right idea when it comes to privacy. Let's just hope that the idea of not treating innocent people like criminals catches on. [The Guardian via Engadget]

Image: Haringey Liberal Democrats/Flickr

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