In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations detailing pervasive secretive and unconstitutional government spying, many tech companies have taken steps to secure users privacy via end-to-end encryption.
Of all the world’s “leaders,” one person has stood out from the crowd by consistently advocating the most destructive, ignorant and authoritarian solutions. That man is UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
I’ve highlighted this fact time and time again here at Liberty Blitzkrieg. Here are a few examples in case you need some context:
All his insane ramblings have finally culminated in a piece of legislation currently being introduced, called the Investigatory Powers Bill, aka the “Snoopers Charter.” The Telegraph has done a great job highlighting some its more egregious aspects. Here are a few excerpts:
Internet and social media companies will be banned from putting customer communications beyond their own reach under new laws to be unveiled on Wednesday.
Companies such as Apple, Google and others will no longer be able to offer encryption so advanced that even they cannot decipher it when asked to, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Measures in the Investigatory Powers Bill will place in law a requirement on tech firms and service providers to be able to provide unencrypted communications to the police or spy agencies if requested through a warrant.
It came as David Cameron, the Prime Minister, pleaded with the public and MPs to back his raft of new surveillance measures.
He said terrorists, paedophiles and criminals must not be allowed a “safe space” online.
Is this pure comedy or what? Everyone knows the biggest crooks and war criminals are the people inside the British government, not the British people. We also know that government officials have a long history of pedophila and then covering it up. Don’t believe me?
However, proposals to be published on Wednesday will, for the first time, place a duty on companies to be able to access their customer data in law.
The Investigatory Powers Bill is also expected to maintain the current responsibility for signing off requests to snoop with the Home Secretary but with extra judicial oversight – a move that is likely to anger civil liberty campaigners and some Tory backbenchers.
It will also require internet companies to retain the web browsing history of their customers for up to a year.
The bill is expected to face a tough route through parliament but Mr Cameron urged critics to back the measures.
He told ITV’s This Morning: “As Prime Minister I would just say to people ‘please, let’s not have a situation where we give terrorists, criminals, child abductors, safe spaces to communicate’.
Lord Carlile, the former terrorism laws watchdog, said there had been a “lot of demonization” of the police and security services over their intentions for such information.
“I think it is absurd to suggest the police and the security services have a kind of casual desire to intrude on the privacy of the innocent,” he said.
Absurd? If there is one lesson from all of history, it’s that governments always want to snoop into the lives of citizens. As much as possible.
The Guardian was more blunt in pointing out the dangers of this bill. For example:
The key elements of the snooper’s charter, including the bulk collection and storage for 12 months of everyone’s personal data, tracking their use of the web, phones and social media, will remain firmly in place when the government publishes its new investigatory powers bill on Wednesday.
The legislation, to be introduced by the home secretary, Theresa May, will provide the security services with an explicit license to “snoop on the web” for the first time.
The new, comprehensive, surveillance legislation will provide the security services and police with access to personal web and phone data using bulk-collection powers and will also put on a fresh legal footing spies’ mass computer hacking, known as “computer network exploitation”.
The Home Office will pay the internet and phone companies an as-yet unspecified (but no doubt large) sum to store this data and to provide access to the security services and the police according to specified regimes.
I suppose this is what you get for electing a technology-challenged, authoritarian man-child as your Prime Minister.