The Investigatory Powers Bill has been passed by both the House of Lords and House of Commons in the United Kingdom. The only thing left for it to be passed into Law is a Royal Assent (which is very likely to be given).
The Investigatory Powers Bill (also called the IP Bill or Snooper’s Charter) has been a heated debate raging for about a year now. It was first introduced by Theresa May in November 2015 when she was the Home Secretary. The bill aims to empower the UK Government to spy on its citizens and residents for National Security.
This is one practice which I believe most Governments already do secretly but the UK Government doesn’t want to have to be Hush Hush about it anymore.
This Law will allow security services to hack into devices, networks or servers; a practice known as Equipment Interference. This could range from downloading data from hacked targets to installing Keyloggers (software that monitor every letter pressed on a device). Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will also be mandated to store user logs for 12 months, accessible on request by security services and police forces (who would have obtained a warrant). This includes every single thing each user does online, with what device, what app and what location for 12 months.
Several Civil Rights groups have expressed serious concern over the bill as its not only privacy invasion on a massive scale but could pose a grave danger if malicious persons find a way to exploit the system (which is only a matter of time).
VPNs to the rescue!
Such a law would increase the demand for the services of Virtual Private Network (VPN) service provides, especially among information sensitive companies and individuals (in the UK) who value their privacy. VPNs have proven indispensable in countries whose Governments heavily restrict or ban the use of certain Social Media platforms…unless the UK Government bans the use of VPNs & Anonymous networks. This would of course be very ridiculous but the IP Bill is ridiculous; yet it is going into law.
Recall the UK (on June 23 this year) voted to exit the EU in a referendum. Security concerns due to migration was one motivation so the IP Bill is no surprise to me.