Another day, another Snooper’s Charter news. This time, it is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that got involved, criticising the proposed bill.
According to a report by The Guardian, the ICO was particularly interested in the encryption part of the Investigatory Powers bill, as the draft apparently requires communication providers to weaken or completely remove data encryption at the government’s request.
Another aspect of the Snooper’s Charter was also called into question – the part which forces communication providers to store communication data for 12 months. The ICO said there was “little justification” as to why such a move would be necessary.
“The information commissioner has stressed the importance of encryption to guard against the compromise of personal information,” it adds. “Weakening encryption can have significant consequences for individuals. The constant stream of security breaches only serves to highlight how important encryption is towards safeguarding personal information. Weakened encryption safeguards could be exploited by hackers and nation states intent on harming the UK’s interests.”
Snooper’s Charter is one of the most controversial proposed bills in a long time. The government claims such a bill is necessary to protect the nation from the threat of terrorist attacks. On the other hand, human rights activists and big tech companies claim the bill is an invasion of privacy and will do little to actually prevent terrorist attacks.
Among the bigger companies against Snooper’s Charter are Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Microsoft, to name a few. The draft bill was proposed by Home Secretary Theresa May.