The Snoopers’ Charter – or Investigatory Powers Act, as it is officially known – has let the Government access and record vast amounts of intimate information on each one of us.
Who you text, email or call.
Which websites you visit.
Who you bank with.
Where your kids go to school.
Your sexual preferences, health worries, religious and political beliefs.
All this data allows for an incredibly detailed picture of you, your family and friends, your hobbies and habits.
It will be available to the Home Secretary, as well as dozens of other organisations. From the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC, to the Food Standards Agency and Gambling Commission, each will have access to this deeply sensitive information.
Further, because internet companies like Sky, BT and TalkTalk are forced to log every website you visit or app used – a goldmine of data is created and at great risk of attack from foreign spies and criminals.
Liberty is seeking a High Court judicial review of the core bulk powers in the so-called Snoopers’ Charter – and calling on the public to help it take on the challenge.
Liberty will seek to challenge the lawfulness of the following powers, which it believes breach the public’s rights:
- Bulk hacking – the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement in crime – leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.
- Bulk interception – the Act allows the state to read texts, online messages and emails and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.
- Bulk acquisition of everybody’s communications data and internet history – the Act forces communications companies and service providers to hand over records of everybody’s emails, phone calls and texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will.
This provides a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies.
- “Bulk personal datasets” – the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems, potentially on the entire population – and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.
Liberty's Guide to Protecting Your Rights Online
The Investigatory Powers Act is now law, allowing the Government to record and monitor everything you do online – all without any suspicion of wrongdoing.
Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your communications from State surveillance: