The shocking new Tyrannical Surveillance bill that the UK has just passed in parliament will soon be upon us, we briefly outlined the bill in a previous article but a bigger question which needs to be looked at is – What are these new powers really for and who are they targeting ?
If your thinking Terrorists and Criminals, think again!
Anyone who wants to avoid Government scrutiny can with relative ease, terrorists and other criminals can remain anonymous by simply using public hotspots or by using a VPN provider which encrypts and destroys all data uploaded and downloaded through its servers. Any serious terrorist or criminal who wants to remain hidden will still be able to.
So with that in mind, it seems this new snooping bill is primarily aimed at spying on the general public. It will also give the Government another convenient avenue to generate false evidence against people who are a threat to their regime or when a scapegoat is required.
As we know Terrorism in the grand scheme of things is a very small threat to the lives of UK Citizens, with more people being endangered by their partners, the Police and even the public health care service. To spend such a large amount of the treasuries financial resources to allegedly fight potential Terrorism is pure nonsense, this is purely about social transparency. Keeping tabs on the masses and allowing more efficient than ever social engineering.
So let’s take a quick look at just what this new bill is proposing:
Each Internet Service Provider (ISP) and mobile carrier in the UK will have to store this data, which the government will pay them to do. Police officers will then be able to access a central search engine known as the “request filter” to retrieve this information. Exactly how this request filter will work still isn’t clear (will you be able to find every visitor to a certain website, for example, then filter that down to specific weeks or days?), but it will be easy to tie browsing data to individuals. If you sign a contract for your phone, for example, that can be linked to your web history.
Access to citizens’ web history will be solely at the discretion of the police, with a specially trained supervising officer approving or denying requests. “It makes this kind of surveillance a simple, routine activity,” says Killock, adding that without oversight, it’ll be impossible to know when police target specific groups disproportionately. That’s definitely a problem in a country where even senior law enforcement officers admit that claims that the police force is institutionally racist have “some justification.”
Other parts of the bill don’t introduce new powers, but establish surveillance and hacking activities revealed by the Snowden revelations. These include the collection of metadata from around the world, and targeted hacking of individuals’ computers — bugging their phone calls, reading texts, and so on. Unlike access to browser history, these latter powers will require a warrant from both the Secretary of State and a panel of judges.
The government has given hacking the deceptively understated description of “equipment interference,” and splits it into two camps: targeted and bulk. Targeted equipment interference allows law enforcement and security agencies to hack specific devices, phones or computers, while bulk hacking can cover larger groups. The only difference between the two powers is that bulk hacking is only authorized for foreign targets.
We already know quite a bit about these capabilities thanks to Snowden’s leaks, and they cover the sort of malware and spyware you might expect any hacker to use. GCHQ’s toolkit, for example, includes a collection of programs named after smurfs: “Nosey Smurf” activates a device’s microphone to record conversations; “Tracker Smurf” hijacks its GPS to track location in real time; while “Dreamy Smurf” allows a phone that appears to be off to secretly turn itself on.
The Verge article from which the above excerpts were taken goes on to make a good point in their conclusion to these new powers:
Collect evidence first, the government is saying, and find the criminals later. The country has a surprising tolerance for this, embracing the use of surveillance cameras more than most. Now, though, it has CCTV for the nation’s online life.
Close only to China and North Korea, the UK seems to be reaching for the top spot in Social Tyranny, every part of a UK citizens life is to be recorded and dissected for potential future use. As the UK Government become ever more opaque, the people are expected to become entirely transparent!
The argument of “If you have nothing to hide then it won’t affect you” is not an argument at all, as Edward Snowdon once said:
Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say,
We all have a right to privacy, what we choose to look at online or write in a personal message via the Internet is our business and only our business.