With the House of Lords recently passing the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill (or ‘Snoopers' Charter’) the legislation, which is currently just awaiting royal assent, looks set to become law in the UK in the very near future.
However, this has not stopped 122,000+ people (at the time of writing) signing a parliament UK petition opposing the Bill, which will allow UK intelligence agencies and police unprecedented levels of power regarding the surveillance of UK citizens.
With the Bill, the ‘powers that be’ will be able to hack, read and store any information from any citizen's computer or phone, without even the requirement of proof that the citizen is up to no good. In essence, whether you’re a law-abiding citizen or not, intelligence agencies and the police will be entitled free reign to your files.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said:
“The IP Bill was debated and passed while the public, media and politicians were preoccupied by Brexit. Now that the Bill has passed, there is renewed concern about the extent of the powers that will be given to the police and security agencies."
In particular, Killock added, people appear to be worried about new powers that mean our web browsing activity can be collected by Internet Service Providers and viewed by the police and a whole range of government departments.
However, UK parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate, so they will have to at least respond to this petition or will surely run the risk of facing a backlash from campaigners.
"Parliament may choose to ignore calls for a debate but this could undermine public confidence in these intrusive powers,” said Killock.
"A debate would also be an opportunity for MPs to discuss the implications of various court actions, which are likely to mean that the law will have to be amended.”