1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
It's 2016 going on 1984.
The UK has just passed a massive expansion in surveillance powers, which critics have called "terrifying" and "dangerous".
The new law, dubbed the "snoopers' charter", was introduced by then-home secretary Theresa May in 2012, and took two attempts to get passed into law following breakdowns in the previous coalition government.
But civil liberties groups have long criticized the bill, with some arguing that the law will let the UK government "document everything we do online".
It's no wonder, because it basically does.
The law will force internet providers to record every internet customer's top-level web history in real-time for up to a year, which can be accessed by numerous government departments; force companies to decrypt data on demand -- though the government has never been that clear on exactly how it forces foreign firms to do that that; and even disclose any new security features in products before they launch.
Not only that, the law also gives the intelligence agencies the power to hack into computers and devices of citizens (known as equipment interference), although some protected professions -- such as journalists and medical staff -- are layered with marginally better protections.
In other words, it's the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy," according to Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group.
The bill was opposed by representatives of the United Nations, all major UK and many leading global privacy and rights groups, and a host of Silicon Valley tech companies alike. Even the parliamentary committee tasked with scrutinizing the bill called some of its provisions "vague".
There are some safeguards, however, such as a "double lock" system so that the secretary of state and an independent judicial commissioner must agree on a decision to carry out search warrants (though one member of the House of Lords disputed that claim).
A new investigatory powers commissioner will also oversee the use of the powers.
Despite the uproar, the government's opposition failed to scrutinize any significant amendments and abstained from the final vote. Killock said recently that the opposition Labour party spent its time "simply failing to hold the government to account".
But the government has downplayed much of the controversy surrounding the bill. The government has consistently argued that the bill isn't drastically new, but instead reworks the old and outdated Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). This was brought into law in 2000, to "legitimize" new powers that were conducted or ruled on in secret, like collecting data in bulk and hacking into networks, which was revealed during the Edward Snowden affair.
Much of those activities were only possible thanks to litigation by one advocacy group, Privacy International, which helped push these secret practices into the public domain while forcing the government to scramble to explain why these practices were legal.
The law will be ratified by royal assent in the coming weeks.
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The Snooper's Charter passed into law this week – say goodbye to your privacy
Silkie Carlo is the policy officer at Liberty
The United Nations has passed a non-binding resolution condemning the disruption of Internet access as a human rights violation.
Russia and China were among countries opposing the resolution, which reaffirms the stance of the UN Human Rights Council that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online.”
Saudi Arabia joined the two nations in their objections. But in addition to authoritarian regimes, democracies such as India and South Africa also disagreed and called for the deletion of the following passage:
“Condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law and calls on all States to refrain from and cease such measures.”
While not legally enforceable, a resolution such as this can help put pressure on governments and add weight to the arguments of digital rights groups.
Digital rights site Access Now’s Global Policy and Legal Counsel representative, Peter Micek, enlarged on this.
“This unanimous statement by the world’s highest human rights body should give governments pause before they order blocking, throttling, and other barriers to information.”
Such throttling was witnessed in Turkey following the June 2016 attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, when social media sites were suppressed.
Access Now says at least 15 Internet shutdowns took place worldwide in 2015. So far in 2016, at least 20 shutdowns are known to have been put into place.
SNOWDEN and mass surveillance,+ GCHQ
10 Dec. 2016
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