Investigatory Powers Bill. Welcome to the Future of Privacy

The IP Bill, so called Snoopers’ Chart, is the most strict surveillance legislation ever existed in Great Britain. And within weeks it’ll become a law. Welcome to the new era.

The House of Lords has passed the infamous Investigatory Powers Bill on Wednesday. The whistleblowers and privacy advocates were highlighting its devastating impact for a long time. Nevertheless, now we have to deal with it — shortly it’ll come to force. What IP Bill means? This note will explain some key take-aways.

All Your Logs Belong To Us

Yes. All your logs. Including: your browsing history, your communication data, your phone detailed billings. From now on, all the service providers: your internet vendor, your mobile operator, will be required to store your communication logs for 12 months. They will be also required to give access to this data to law enforcement organs on their request.

How Law Enforcement Organs Will Access Your Data?

IP Bill introduces new rules on how police and other organs may access your data and how they collect them. First of all, it legalises gaining access to user’s data by simply hacking their system/device. Law enforcement organs will be also allowed to conduct bulk collection of personal data (also communication data).

What Kind of Data Will Be Collected?

Basically, all kinds of data. Beginning with your complete web browsing history, through information related to the communicator apps you use, widgets and apps installed on your devices, to information on what devices and how many of them you have connected to your network (just to exemplify: e-readers, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, smart kettles, smart TVs, etc…)

Profiling

Data reveals information about nearly all areas of our life. Given a chance, smart analyst might construct a profile of any user by accessing their data. Then all information about their income, employment status, health conditions will be exposed, along with very sensitive information, such as sexual life, political preferences, religion and cultural customs/patterns, etc.

Such big control over personal data of citizens gives enormous power over the society. It is also an enormous risk and personally I don’t feel any better when I’m being told that the data will be collected “just in case”, to “protect Great Britain from terrorism and other threats”. In this case I rather think that if terrorism did not exist it would have had to be invented.