You know when everyone tells you what you’re doing is wrong but you do it anyway? That’s the UK government right now.
Tech folks, human rights campaigners and even a member of the House of Lords charged with overseeing the government’s latest attempt to increase its spying powers are all united in condemnation of the rather rushed draft Investigatory Powers Bill.
Among other bits of your private life up for grabs in the 229-page document are your smartphone, via a new automated power to hack your handset, and your Web searches, through the logging of all site visits of UK internet users.
And despite the Home Secretary Theresa May saying otherwise, the cross-party committee tasked with deciding if those pages are good or crap has been given just weeks before Christmas to read, gather evidence and call expert witnesses.
Ridiculous. Committee scrutinising massive Investigatory Powers Bill given just 2 weeks to hear witnesses. Govt turning it into rubber stamp
— Paul Strasburger (@LordStras) November 25, 2015
The Bill’s controversial predecessor, the draft Communications Data Bill, or the original ‘snooper’s charter’, was debated for five months before it was thrown out in 2014.
Of course, heightened fear around a potential terror threat offers a handy moment to get legislation like this through.
And following an investigation by Buzzfeed’s Tom Warren revealing that the National Crime Agency has launched an internal inquiry into the possibility it’s been collecting data illegally, the government clearly needs some sweeping powers, fast.
➤ Don’t Spy on Us condemns the fast-tracking of new surveillance legislation [Don’t Spy On Us]