Announced in the King's Speech on Tuesday, the UK Home Office has announced plans to update the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA) with the Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill. According to the government's press release, the proposed amendments aim to ensure the country's safety and protect citizens from harmful threats by enabling intelligence agencies to use and develop more appropriate tools and capabilities to identify intelligence insights from increasing quantities of data.
While the proposed amendments do not create new powers, they modify elements in the current IPA to ensure proportionality and appropriate resilience mechanisms for the agencies and oversight bodies.
The Home Office published a factsheet containing links to several related documents explaining the bill's measures and their impact:
- IP Amendment Bill: Overview
- IP Amendment Bill: Oversight and Safeguards
- IP Amendment Bill: Communications Data and Internet Connection Records
- IP Amendment Bill: Overview of the Notices Regime
- IP Amendment Bill: Strengthening the Notice Review Process
- IP Amendment Bill: Notification Requirement
- IP Amendment Bill: Bulk Personal Datasets and Third Party Bulk Personal Datasets
In a statement by Open Rights Group concerning the proposed amendments to the IPA, Abigail Burke said: End-to-end encryption keeps our data and our communications safe and secure. The proposed reforms to the Investigatory Powers Act are the government's latest attack on this technology... If enacted, these reforms pose a threat to companies' ability to keep our data safe and increase the risk of criminal attacks. We urge the government to engage with civil society and tech companies, and to reconsider these potentially dangerous proposals."
In a separate statement by Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo said: "The King's Speech revealed plans to add yet more spying powers to the Snoopers' Charter. The government says it will give them the power to veto private tech companies' privacy and security features. Such powers would be more extreme than even the world's most despotic regimes... This would be yet another Bill that would exert extraordinary control to treat private companies as extensions of the state in order to conduct mass surveillance of millions of law-abiding citizens. It would be a major blow to the population's security."
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