Britain's love-affair with mass surveillance began under the Labour government, but it was two successive Conservative governments (one in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who are nominally pro-civil liberties) who took Tony Blair's mass surveillance system and turned it into a vicious, all-powerful weapon. Now, their work is done.
The Snoopers Charter -- AKA the "Investigatory Powers Act" -- is the most extreme surveillance law in Europe, more extreme that America's Patriot Act and associated presidential orders and secret rulings from the Foreign Intelligence courts. Snowden nailed it when he said it "goes further than many autocracies."
The fact that these new spying powers -- which conscript tech companies to do the collection and retention of materials for use by the government, usually in secret -- comes even as the ruling Conservative Party is barely holding itself together after the Brexit vote and the rise of nativist, racist, pro-deportation/anti-migrant movements who are working their way into the halls of power. Needless to say, any project of mass roundups and expulsions will rely heavily on the legal and technical capabilities for surveillance that the British state has just claimed for itself.
Surveillance powers outlast the rulers who create them. We are one click away from totalitarianism.
Jim Killock, the executive director of Open Rights Group, said: “The UK now has a surveillance law that is more suited to a dictatorship than a democracy. The state has unprecedented powers to monitor and analyse UK citizens’ communications regardless of whether we are suspected of any criminal activity.”
Renate Samson, the chief executive of Big Brother Watch, said: “The passing of the investigatory powers bill has fundamentally changed the face of surveillance in this country. None of us online are now guaranteed the right to communicate privately and, most importantly, securely.”
'Extreme surveillance' becomes UK law with barely a whimper
[Ewen MacAskill/The Guardian]
(Image: Vladimir Putin and Theresa May, Kremlin.ru, CC-BY)
Every August, British 16-year-olds get their marks from the GCSE exams, a high-stakes test that has an enormous impact on their future educational and earnings prospects; on results day 2015, the British Army used Facebook targeting to reach these 16-year-olds with messages like "No matter what your results will be, you can still improve yourself […]
The BBC has weighed in on the debate over Article 13, a controversial last-minute addition to the EU's new Copyright Directive that will be voted on in 12 days; under Article 13, European sites will have to spy on every word, sound, picture, and video their users post and use a black-box copyright algorithm to […]
Muso is a London-based anti-piracy contractor, helping big entertainment companies conduct surveillance and legal threats against online infringers; in a new CitizenMe study they commissioned, 1,000 British internet users were surveyed; the headline finding: 83% of infringing downloads are triggered by an unsuccessful search for a commercially available version of the same work.
The Adobe Creative Cloud is home to a suite of editing tools today’s creatives count on to produce their content. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer, animator, or graphic designer, Adobe’s programs can help you in your creative pursuits, and with the Complete Adobe CC Training Bundle, you can come to grips with six of them for […]
Your pet might be photogenic, but getting them to stare long enough at your camera to snap that Instagram-worthy photo isn’t as simple as telling them to sit. Bribing your pets with their favorite treat, however, might just do the trick, and with the Adjustable Pet Selfie Smartphone Attachment, you can do just that while getting […]
The cybersecurity landscape is changing, and now one of the most effective ways to counter hacking threats is to employ another hacker against them. Commonly referred to as ethical hackers, these professionals use a cybercriminal’s tools against them, checking networks for vulnerabilities and patching them up before they can be exploited. The Certified Ethical Hacker Bootcamp […]