The UK government has passed the Investigatory Powers Bill. This, according to the Guardian, “legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US”.
In truth, it merely legalizes what the government has been doing for years anyway – just consider what Ed Snowden revealed about the USA (via the NSA)n and the UK (via GCHQ) and their nasty snooping. Indeed, Snowden said in Laura Poitras’ documentary film Citizenfour that GCHQ were spying illegally far more than the villainous NSA! (I advise everyone to see Citizenfour – it’s widely available on bittorrent, check the Pirate Bay Proxy List for available downloads).
The Guardian rightly describes this new law-in-waiting “extreme surveillance”. Also noted that it passed “with barely a whimper” – which is, of course, due to the atmosphere of heightened tension over “terrorist plots” that has hung over us for 15 years, since the Twin Towers atrocity.
We all need to use encryption and to anonymize as much as possible. But as the companies that carry the bulk of internet traffic are in either UK or USA, it doesn’t look good. But try to get into encryption anyway – for everything – it’s the technical equivalent of putting your email in an envelope. Would you be comfortable writing all your correspondence on the back of postcards, knowing that just anyone can read it?