The Members of Parliament voted in favour of the far-ranging, massively invasive spying bill after the Tories agreed to minor improvements, like dropping the requirement for mandatory crypto backdoors if they would be infeasible or expensive to implement.
The vote went 444 to 69.
Next, the bill goes to the House of Lords, who've historically been unfavourable to surveillance legislation. We can and will put pressure on them to do the right thing, but it looks grim.
The version of the bill passed Tuesday states that companies can only be asked to remove encryption that they themselves have put in place and if doing so is technically feasible and not unduly expensive. This provision would allow a company ordered to break encryption to appeal to the Secretary of State that doing so would pose a prohibitively costly or otherwise damaging challenge.
The bill states that the government will likely reimburse communications companies, including mobile operators, for the cost of complying with the new legal obligations, such as the requirement to retain records of all the websites its customers visit for at least a year.
Civil rights and privacy advocates have also opposed the bill and the revisions the government made in the final version haven't mollified them. "Minor botox has not fixed this bill," Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the civil rights group Liberty, said when the final version was introduced in March.
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