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As The Coalition Government Ends, What Next For Your Privacy?

2015-05-08 13:45


It’s over.

After what seems like months, the election is finally over and done with and we don’t need to worry about politics again for another 5 years.

Or do we?

Well, as the dust begins to settle, some within the heart of British politics have already set their minds toward policy and, irrespective of your allegiances, that means change.

One of the key policies that was mooted last night, long before the result was known, was the Snoopers’ Charter – a plan to increase the British government’s surveillance powers – that had hitherto been thwarted by the Conservative Party’s coalition partners.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, raised the controversial legislation during an interview with the BBC last night and, now that her party has secured a majority mandate, she seems keen to finally realise her ambition of pushing the Draft Communications Data Bill through The House of Commons.

Should the proposal now secure the support it requires to become law, it will see British internet service providers forced to store massive amounts of data on their customers and to make it available to the government and its security services upon request.

The bill, which was blocked by the Liberal Democrats in 2014, has received a huge amount of criticism from security experts and civil liberties groups alike.

Given the new distribution of MPs after last night’s election, it seems likely that the bill will now find its way into law though.

Should that prove to be so, it will be interesting to see what the government’s next move is, especially given how David Cameron has previously hinted that re-election would see him seek additional powers.

Back in January, he demonstrated what many would argue was a complete lack of understanding about encryption, as he suggested there should be no form of communication that the security services should not be able to read.

His comments at the time were taken to mean that encryption could be outlawed altogether, or at the very least highly regulated, leading to concerns among British businesses who immediately felt at risk, and security professionals and privacy advocates who collectively shuddered at the though of what it may mean for the average user.

Hopefully any further ideas thought up by politicians, whatever party they may be associated with, will be better thought out, especially given how we heard only yesterday that the US appears to be moving in the opposite direction to the UK as a federal appeals court ruled the NSA’s bulk data collection program to be illegal.

We’ve also seen Germany’s surveillance agency BND caught in cahoots with the NSA – a revelation that led to a massive drop in popularity for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Where we go next with privacy in the UK is anyone’s guess right now but what is for sure is that we now live in a world where the topic of civil liberties is becoming more widely discussed and understood (unless you’re a politician, or so it seems) which cannot be a bad thing (we like the thought of awareness here).

We live in interesting times. Let’s hope that’s not a curse.

Source: 2752=p?/hctawytiruces/ei.gnitlusnochb

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