The UK is due to pass the most controversial mass surveillance law according to the Home Office. The law which legalizes mass surveillance programs that were exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013. This also introduce a new power which will force the internet service providers to store the browsing data of customers for 12 months.
Many activists has considered this law as the most extreme steps taken in the history of any democracy, but the law enforcement believes that passing this law is absolutely necessary in this age of technology and communications.
A statement from the Home Office reads:
The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need in a digital age to disrupt terrorist attacks, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight,
This act gives law enforcement power to track the collection of internet and phone communications in mass. In June 2013, using documents provided by Edward Snowden, The Guardian revealed that the GCHQ taps fibre-optic undersea cables in order to intercept emails, internet histories, calls, and a wealth of other data.
The Act also covers “bulk equipment interference,” which is the UK government’s term for mass hacking.
There is a new surveillance law that is also introduced in which the records of the internet service a specific device has connected to, it will be stored by the internet service providers and will be disclosed to the law enforcement, if required. These records will include visited websites, messaging platforms like WhatsApp, or potentially even the connection your computer makes to a remote server when updating its software.
The UK law enforcement agencies say that passing this law will monitor the cyber crime and it will observe the activities of the ‘suspects’ and their communications.