Last week the Houses of Parliament in the UK passed the “Investigatory Powers Bill” better known as the “Snoopers Charter” which means new spying laws came into effect on Tuesday, the bill forces your Internet Service Providers (ISP) (BT, Sky, Virgin or TalkTalk) to keep a record of your internet connection records (ICRs) for one year. At the request of the Government the ISP will have to make them available if asked without a warrant.
This bill was mainly pass on the merit of the governments attempt find terrorists something which the Government often uses when trying to push through a controversal bill, however, the ICRs will be available to a wide range of government bodies including but not limited to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
With bodies such as the FSA it’s no wonder that people say the Snoopers Charter is an invasion of privacy, The Government will access to communications data including who the user is, when they accessed and where they accessed it from, the Government will also be targeting interception of electronic communications by using bulk collection of data on every citizen which first came to light in the revelations by former CIA operator Edward Snowden, The UK Government will also have the ability to mount IT attacks also known as equipment interference.
The Government has also laid out its desires under former Prime Minister David Cameron to ban Encryption or force companies to insert “Back doors” into their software which most UK citizens feel that as they do no wrong they have nothing to hide, however, a door can be accessed from both sides and if the UK Government can access it through one way, Hackers from dissident countries will most certainly be able to access it leaving the whole country open to targeted attacks rendering our country useless which is what the “Snoopers Charter” is supposidly trying to stop.
For those who are interested in protecting their privacy not only from the Government but also would be hackers it is highly recommended people start using VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks), there are plenty free ones out there however most of these hold a lot of your personal data which they will turn over to the Government, there are a few paid ones that hold less personal data so when summoned to hand over the information will be able to hand very little over one of these we recommend is PIA. Android users can download PIA here and iOS users here.
Users should also use messaging services that offer end to end encryption so that their communications are safe Signal is an extremely good one which is available on both Android and iOS. Finally Encryption Software is recommended to ensure maximum security users can find a review of some software encryption here.
A full list of the agencies that can access your information under the Snoopers charter without a warrant can be found below:
- Metropolitan police force
- City of London police force
- Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
- Police Service of Scotland
- Police Service of Northern Ireland
- British Transport Police
- Ministry of Defence Police
- Royal Navy Police
- Royal Military Police
- Royal Air Force Police
- Security Service
- Secret Intelligence Service
- Ministry of Defence
- Department of Health
- Home Office
- Ministry of Justice
- National Crime Agency
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Department for Transport
- Department for Work and Pensions
- NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
- Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
- Competition and Markets Authority
- Criminal Cases Review Commission
- Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
- Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
- Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
- Food Standards Agency
- Food Standards Scotland
- Gambling Commission
- Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
- Health and Safety Executive
- Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
- Information Commissioner
- NHS Business Services Authority
- Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
- Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
- Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
- Office of Communications
- Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
- Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
- Scottish Ambulance Service Board
- Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
- Serious Fraud Office
- Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust
Let us know in the comments below if this concerns you and if you currently use or will be using software mentioned above to protect your privacy.