Privacy watchdog is not happy about the snooper's charter

13 January 2016

spy spying The snooper's charter has pretty much annoyed every single person in Britain who cares about everyone's personal privacy. Add to that, the information commissioner’s office. The ICO have lambasted the draft Investigatory Powers bill, saying that it is an attack on individuals’ privacy.

What's got their dander up? Well, like other critics, they're not at all happy about the government's idea that apps and communications should be weakened so they can have a look at people's messages if they think something is up.

The ICO told the parliamentary committee who have been asked to look at the bill that "little justification" has been given for this contentious part of the legislation, saying that encryption "is vital to help ensure the security of personal data generally."

One of the big concerns is, obviously, the government being able to look at your messages without you knowing. Another is that weakening encryption could see hackers having a field day, thereby, seeing that the government make everyone less secure. Of course, criminals will find other ways of talking in secret, because they're criminals - that's what they do.

This type of end-to-end encryption that we currently have ensures that the people providing the communication service can't read people's messages, even if an authority asks them to. Facebook and Apple apps have this type of security, as does Telegram. If the government get their way, then the services will be weakened.

The ICO say that allowing the government to do this will have "detrimental consequences to the security of data and safeguards which are essential to the public’s continued confidence in the handling and use of their personal information", and that "the weakening or circumvention of encryption [is a] matter of real concern”.

"The information commissioner has stressed the importance of encryption to guard against the compromise of personal information. 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," they continued.

TOPICS:   Privacy

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