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Lock up your data – the British IPB is coming

Posted by on October 17, 2016.

Until a year before the Brexit referendum, I was firmly in favour of the UK leaving the EU. This was because I have zero faith in European politicians. Then I did a 180. This was because I have even less faith in British politicians. And IPB.

And here’s why.

In a highly significant judgment released today, The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has found that the UK’s intelligence agencies were secretly and illegally collecting bulk data on people in the UK without adequate safeguards or supervision for over a decade. This is one of the most significant indictments of the secret use of the Government’s mass surveillance powers since Edward Snowden first began exposing the extent of US and UK spying in 2013.
PI press release on Medium

It is meaningless. Although GCHQ’s action was illegal then, that same action became legal when GCHQ admitted what it was doing in 2015. So nothing is going to happen despite GCHQ’s illegal behavior.

And to make matters worse, the new Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) will remove virtually every restraint from GCHQ. Green Party Lords member Jenny Jones tried to introduce a simple requirement for ‘reasonable suspicion’ before surveillance; but got no support and withdrew her amendment. She tweeted, “My amendments had no support. But if I live long enough I predict I will be able to say ‘I told you so’ on weakness of safeguards #IPBill.”

The bottom line is this. The UK government cares not a jot about the people’s privacy. It never has and never will. Independent thought is dangerous; so let’s limit it by surveillance.

On August 5, 2016, PI announced:

Today, Privacy International, together with five internet and communications providers from around the world, have lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the British Government’s use of bulk hacking abroad. Until we brought our original case at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) in 2014, the Government had never admitted that it engaged in hacking. Now we are learning for the first time how far-reaching the Government’s global hacking capabilities are.
Privacy International and five internet and communications providers challenge British Government’s bulk hacking abroad before the European Court of Human Rights

Again, it is meaningless. By the time the European Court can do anything, Britain will be outside of its jurisdiction. Britain will be outside of the protection of the European constitution; and the blackguards in the House of Commons will have free reign [intended] over UK subjects.

I find myself reduced to the absurd position of beseeching the European politicians that I do not trust to reject trade with the UK. If Britain adopts some form of GDPR, I pray that Europe will dismiss it as inadequate. If Britain is forced to take a Privacy Shield approach similar to the US, I pray that Europe strikes it down – in the same way and for the same reason that it struck down Safe Harbor; that is, it is impossible to protect European PII from the eye of Morwenstowe and the IPB.

The only way that the British government will provide any privacy to the British people is if Big Business decides it will lose money and instructs the government to rein in GCHQ.

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Submitted in: Expert Views, Kevin Townsend's opinions | Tags: