The new Investigatory Powers Bill, announced in yesterday's Queen's Speech, will include legislation to force Internet companies to give access to encrypted conversations of suspected terrorists and criminals. According to The Telegraph: "New laws will require WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, Snapchat and other popular apps to hand messages sent by their users to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ about suspects under investigation."
The decision by the UK government to reduce parliamentary scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill has been condemned by civil liberties groups and technology experts. The draft Bill and explanatory notes, which run to 299 pages, will now only receive three weeks scrutiny in order to drive the legislation through parliament in the New Year.
Open Rights Group has responded to the publication of the UK's proposed new surveillance law, the draft Investigatory Powers Bill.
Open Rights Group explains that the Investigatory Powers Bill would force ISPs to create and retain even more data about their customers. Moreover, the terms of the Bill mean that ISPs would be prevented from discussing orders they receive the Home Secretary. At the same time, the police and other government departments would use a “filter” that would analyse data to identify what may be of interest.
The government’s investigatory powers bill lacks clarity and is sowing confusion among tech firms about the extent to which “internet connection records” will be collected, a parliamentary select committee has warned.
The highly critical report by the House of Commons science and technology committee says there are widespread doubts about key definitions in the legislation, “not to mention the definability, of a number of the terms”.