UK lawmakers approve 'most sweeping' surveillance powers

November 19, 2016
Britain's new surveillance law would, among other measures, require websites to keep customer browsing history for up to a year and allow law enforcement access

The British parliament this week gave the green light to new bulk surveillance powers for police and intelligence services that critics have denounced as the most far-reaching of any western democracy.

The Investigatory Powers Bill would, among other measures, require websites to keep customers' browsing history for up to a year and allow to access them to help with investigations.

Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower, said the powers "went further than many autocracies".

"The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy," he tweeted.

The bill, the first major update of British surveillance laws for 15 years, was passed by the House of Lords and now only needs rubber-stamping by Queen Elizabeth II.

Prime Minister Theresa May introduced the bill in March when she was still interior minister, describing it as "world-leading" legislation intended to reflect the change in online communications.

It gives legal footing to existing but murky powers such as the hacking of computers and mobile phones, while introducing new safeguards such as the need for a judge to authorise interception warrants.

But critics have dubbed it the "snooper's charter" and say that, in authorising the blanket retention and access by authorities of records of emails, calls, texts and web activity, it breaches fundamental rights of privacy.

Rights organisation Liberty has challenged the legislation at the European Court of Justice, arguing it is incompatible with human rights law, and a judgement is expected next year.

"The passage of the Snoopers' Charter through parliament is a sad day for British liberty," said Bella Sankey, the group's policy director.

"Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the state has achieved totalitarian-style surveillance powers –- the most intrusive system of any democracy in human history.

"It has the ability to indiscriminately hack, intercept, record, and monitor the communications and internet use of the entire population."

Jim Killock, executive director of digital campaigners Open Rights Group, warned the impact of the legislation would reach beyond Britain.

"It is likely that other countries, including authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, will use this law to justify their own intrusive surveillance powers," he said.

The bill also reinforces existing encryption powers, allowing officials to ask technology companies to provide content where it is deemed "practicable", although firms fear it may open the door to further demands on the sector.

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gkam
2.2 / 5 (13) Nov 19, 2016
Big Brother is really the little man in the poor quality suit you see on the bus every day. In his mind, everybody else is a threat, and he is out to prove it. He monitors what people say in their most guarded moments.

I am going to send him your name.

It is so we are more safe, . . . right?
dustywells
5 / 5 (8) Nov 19, 2016
Who else but the country of George Orwell should lead into the totalitarianism predicted by Orwell.
gkam
2.2 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2016
I see I got voted down by someone who apparently likes Big Brother watching him.

I do not. Let him stay in the South, where it makes them feel wanted.

Here is my position:
Spying on The People did not save Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. The SAVAK did not save the Shah, and the KGB did not save the Soviet Union. The DINA, the STASI, and others have revealed the future of our own government agencies which consider The People to be suspects in their own nation.

Any government that does not trust its citizens deserves NO TRUST OR SUPPORT from those citizens.
gkam
2.2 / 5 (13) Nov 19, 2016
We are headed into a Dark Age of Big Brother, secret police, and the reign of the intelligence agencies, which have found more power turning against those who pay them.

I have no idea how to stop it. When I served in a Federal Criminal Grand Jury for 24 months, I came out fearing the government, then corrupted by Dubya Bush. Well, Comey is still in there, doing the work of Trump and Putin.
Benni
1.7 / 5 (7) Nov 19, 2016
I see I got voted down by someone who apparently likes Big Brother watching him.
.....well apparently you don't care, you posted your resume, your address, pics of your domicile & of yourself. Do you even have shades in your windows? I should check StreetViews.

It seems that you are being very careful how you up & down vote. You see how the anti-Trump crowd in your neck of the country are rioting in the streets & you imagine that for so long as you are perceived as being anti-Trump that the protesters will stay away from your driveway?
gkam
2 / 5 (12) Nov 19, 2016
"Benni", my life is open and honest, unlike yours. I do not have to hide from my words in some phony name.

No riots here, "Benni". We are organizing to legally get you and Trump and Putin out of our lives.

Trump just paid $25,000,000 to dodge jail for his "university" fraud. He is your kind of guy.
koitsu
not rated yet Nov 19, 2016
Sickos.
Benni
1 / 5 (7) Nov 19, 2016
my life is open and honest, unlike yours. I do not have to hide from my words in some phony name.
........and when you come to a fork in the road and because you trap yourself into so many corners trying to placate every side of an issue forcing you to take the fork. How does it feel wondering if Stumpy is going to show up at your front door?

No riots here, "Benni". We are organizing to legally get you and Trump and Putin out of our lives.
Were you expositing the same thing about getting Obama out of our healthcare issues such as, keeping doctors & plans we already like? Got an opinion about these? No? Yes?......I know, you won't answer questions like these because you want to placate the liberal bias reflected in such deeply personal issues as these, this way you hope to keep the Stumpy mental state at more than arms length from your house which you wouldn't need to worry about if you hadn't told him where you live.

xponen
1 / 5 (1) Nov 19, 2016
This bill, despite being criticized by lawyers, NGOs, companies, and opposition parties, I believe reflect the desperation of law-enforcers to deal with online crime & criminals. They need it, but everyone else is too selfish to see it and only focussing on "no, can't do" instead of finding alternative solution.

Since nobody is helping law-enforcer, then I believe this bill deserve its approval. Compare this to the FBI vs Apple case; FBI had to pay $1million to unlock those iPhone in addition to Apple bringing his case against FBI to court... this is unsustainable.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 19, 2016
Government has no right to my communications.
thexfile
3 / 5 (4) Nov 19, 2016
Welcome to the Security State you've always wanted.
xponen
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 19, 2016
Government has no right to my communications.

Who is the "government"? the government is made up of your choice of representatives that you choose to represent you in the parliament or congress. They are doing their job that you entrusted them to do, they represented you... this bill, for example, is a revision of previous draft that was rejected because of intrusion of privacy. The fact is; society need this bill, and you can take comfort that the process of democracy in the parliament or congress will protected you right. Okay?
snoosebaum
1 / 5 (3) Nov 19, 2016
Its all about money - taxation
h20dr
1 / 5 (1) Nov 19, 2016
If they just deported all those dumbasses they let it to begin with everything would b cool. But no, its too late now. They need to deport the govt dumbasses too. Drain the swamp.
rrrander
1 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2016
Britain, like Europe, let in millions of undesirables and they reap the cost of it. Now, just to keep a lid on the criminality, they have to go 1/2 police state. Blame this on progressives, they caused it.
Phys1
4 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2016
Government has no right to my communications.

Unless there would be probable cause severe enough to have priority over your privacy.
This is the achilles heel of democracy. Separation of powers or Trias Politica as described by Montesquieu is essential.
The UK is an imperfect implementation of that principle. It has no constitution, the head of state is head of the church and head of the army at the same time and the function is hereditary, as are other important political functions.
Phys1
4 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2016
Britain, like Europe, let in millions of undesirables and they reap the cost of it. Now, just to keep a lid on the criminality, they have to go 1/2 police state. Blame this on progressives, they caused it.

I blame it on Republican stupidity. After all it was Bush who created chaos in Iraq and by this set off the present disaster. He also maintained an illegal surveillance program, and this will continue now that the Tea Party is in charge of the CIA.
I hope that European leaders will now see that Europe has to take charge of its own security, defence and destiny.
The end result is chaos and waste.
Phys1
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 20, 2016
I blame it on Republican stupidity. After all it was Bush who created chaos in Iraq and by this set off the present disaster. He also maintained an illegal surveillance program, and this will continue now that the Tea Party is in charge of the CIA.
The end result is chaos and waste.
I hope that European leaders will now see that Europe has to take charge of its own security, defence and destiny.

I swapped these two last sentences, but, yes, there is always that risk.
Benni
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 20, 2016
The end result is chaos and waste.
.........alias Phys1.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Nov 20, 2016
With such sweeping god-like power to see everything and everyone, can we expect a swift end to all the corruption, say by noon tomorrow? Then we're good. What kind of academic credentials are required to access and apply science to the data? If citizenship is the only requirement, then we're good. The people generate the data, they pay for the hardware that collects and distributes it, and they pay for the security services to archive it. The people own it all, lock, stock, and barrel. If the parliament and elected representatives serve the people, then we're good, and humanity can use the data to transform the world in a day (or two), and get itself and the planet back on track for meeting the challenges that the universe has already hurled our way. Are we all clear on that?

If dividing power among three branches of government is a good idea, how critical is it that we divide god-like power equally among us all?
gkam
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 20, 2016
The goobers have yet to pay for their Bush Wars. I fear the Trump Wars will be nuclear, and the last ones ever.

How did we let the conservatives do this to our nation?
Benni
1 / 5 (6) Nov 20, 2016
The goobers have yet to pay for their Bush Wars. I fear the Trump Wars will be nuclear, and the last ones ever.

How did we let the conservatives do this to our nation?


Hey George K, it's the cities near where you live in which the people are rioting. We know George, don't criticize the rioters near your neighborhood, after all, they have your address & will know where to go next if you call them out for their destructive behavior.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (10) Nov 20, 2016
I fear the corrupted and politicized FBI more than any rioters.

The Age of the Hoovers is here: One is in the FBI, and one is going to the White House.

We can expect the same results as last time.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 20, 2016
We can expect the same results as last time
Poor george kamburoff the psychopath is so lonely he's desperately baiting everybody in this thread. George, nobody cares what your position is. Isn't that obvious?

And as far as the FBI is concerned, you should fear them as they tend to arrest guys like you. But in reality you don't fear much of anything do you? No emotions, no empathy, no conscience. A big hole in your brain where those things are supposed to be.
Osiris1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 20, 2016
Every despot seems invited in. Especially by stupid people, lost people, gullible people. Britain, England, just England for all others under her domination will rebel. Starting with Scotland. Then Wales! Then Northern Ireland even. For ALL want the benefits to the working class of European unity. All will leave her and her ugly queen or whatever takes her place when she goes. Now that they have this law, is it just 'coincidence' that the royals now want a good part of a billion brit pounds just to 'fix their palace' where so many ordinary English met ugly and painful and evil ends throughout British history!! That leaves the wretched gullible English always under domination of their 'royals'. The English gave up gun ownership not so willingly but their sheeple gave it up and their police state shortly went from bad to much worse. If I was an Englishman, I would leave however I could. Even if I had to leave in a small precarious boat, naked, in the middle of the night
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 20, 2016
The English gave up gun ownership not so willingly but their sheeple gave it up and their police state shortly went from bad to much worse
-Difference between subjects and citizens. Now only criminals have steak knives.
carbon_unit
1 / 5 (3) Nov 20, 2016
I would presume this only applies to UK hosted websites and maybe websites hosted by UK entities any where in the world? Seems like the prime result is going to be to severely damage hosting operations in the UK. Might also make things like VPNs and TOR more popular.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2016
Now only criminals have steak knives.
And EM drives – a bit of good news to pass along, hot off the peer-reviewed presses: Measurements of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum. To Mars in 70 days is possible, study up now before the phys.org article on it gets uploaded.
del2
1 / 5 (3) Nov 20, 2016
is it just 'coincidence' that the royals now want a good part of a billion brit pounds just to 'fix their palace' where so many ordinary English met ugly and painful and evil ends throughout British history!!

If you knew any English history at all, you would know that no-one 'met ugly and painful and evil ends' in Buckingham Palace. And I wonder if there would be any objection to spending this amount on refurbishing the White House if that were necessary?
"That leaves the wretched gullible English always under domination of their 'royals'." The 'Royals' have less power that the Presidents of the U.S.A. or Russia. Again, your lack of knowledge is outweighed by your astonishing arrogance and obvious bias.
"If I was an Englishman, I would leave however I could. Even if I had to leave in a small precarious boat, naked, in the middle of the night" And the shore would be crowded with people shouting "Good riddance!"
I have reported you for being offensive.
Osiris1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
#del2, read "A Child's History of England", by Charles Dickens. The old phrase, 'it takes one to call one" paraphrases you in arrogance. Your own George Orwell described your own contemporary history but missed the mark by a few years with his book "1984". Britich royal palaces have been used badly on Brit 'subjects' for hundreds of years, no matter what the 'palace'. Your 'King Richard III' was called 'crookback Dick' way back when. That Johnny got your throne by murdering his 'royal' nephews by forcing them to 'drink' molten lead, according to Charles Dickens. Seeing as his book was published IN England in the mid 1800's under Queen Victoria who was an absolute type monarch, I rather doubt that he lied. If you want to regard any viewpoint other than your own is 'arrogant' or 'offensive', go report yourself. Knock yourself out. By the way, 'Hung, Drawn, and Quartered' was an English punishment. Many torture instruments invented in English dungeons....
del2
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
@Osiris1, if you got your knowledge of English history from a book written for children by a novelist, that explains a lot.
Buckingham Palace wasn't owned or used by royalty until 1761; it was never used for housing or disposing of prisoners.It wasn't the Monarch's residence until 1837.
Queen Victoria was a constitutional monarch, not an 'absolute type monarch'.
I reiterate: you are biased, bigoted and ignorant.
ThomasQuinn
2 / 5 (4) Nov 21, 2016
@Osiris1, if you got your knowledge of English history from a book written for children by a novelist, that explains a lot.
Buckingham Palace wasn't owned or used by royalty until 1761; it was never used for housing or disposing of prisoners.It wasn't the Monarch's residence until 1837.
Queen Victoria was a constitutional monarch, not an 'absolute type monarch'.
I reiterate: you are biased, bigoted and ignorant.


Queen Victoria was neither an absolute nor a constitutional monarch, but a so-called "limited monarch" - her powers were limited, by laws such as the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701, but not clearly defined by a constitution, such as in The Netherlands or Belgium. Most limits on the monarchy in the UK are and were based on tradition, not hard-and-fast laws. If Elizabeth II were to decide to disband parliament today, it would technically be legal, though destructive to the monarchy. Anyway, check your facts before you correct others.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2016
And EM drives – a bit of good news to pass along, hot off the peer-reviewed presses: Measurements of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum. To Mars in 70 days is possible, study up now before the phys.org article on it gets uploaded
I am doubting this - I think god wants us to stay right where he put us.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
I can just imagine Soros saying to himself , I just love it when a plan comes together. Create world chaos and watch the peons gladly give up their freedoms in exchange for the promised safety that only a one world government can provide.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
Yes, I am sure it was Soros and not Putin who corrupted our own government agencies still loaded with Bush appointees. Soros probably made Dubya start his disastrous Bush Wars of Mass Killing and Corporate Profit, just so he could laugh at the conservatives and their incredible bungles and disasters.

Well, we have a REAL unwitting agent of Putin taking power now. He is YOUR man, not mine.
imfromcanada
3 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
I blame it on Republican stupidity. After all it was Bush who created chaos in Iraq and by this set off the present disaster. He also maintained an illegal surveillance program, and this will continue now that the Tea Party is in charge of the CIA.
I hope that European leaders will now see that Europe has to take charge of its own security, defence and destiny.
The end result is chaos and waste.


The surveillance state may have seriously started under Bush, but to blame it entirely on Republicans is simply wrong. In 8 years, Obama has not only reaffirmed the policies developed under Bush but has expanded them as well. Even after worldwide exposure with Snowden, he's done almost nothing to curb the mass, definitely illegal, surveillance of US citizens. While I don't think he's been worse then Trump will be (definitely not), I nonetheless realize that he's made the status quo even worse when it comes to an individual's right to privacy in today's online world.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
I have to agree with some of the above post. Obama prosecuted or persecuted whistleblowers in government. I cannot forgive that.

Of course, Trump is trying to make it illegal to discuss his faults, his actions, his motives, his disasters with new laws.

It's National Socialism again! Heil Trump.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
"Of course, Trump is trying to make it illegal to discuss his faults, his actions, his motives, his disasters with new laws."

Would you please show some examples of this. TIA.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
"Of course, Trump is trying to make it illegal to discuss his faults, his actions, his motives, his disasters with new laws."

Would you please show some examples of this. TIA.
George kamburoff the psychopath is baiting you. The first step to victimizing people is getting their attention. You respond, you lose.
MR166
5 / 5 (2) Nov 21, 2016
Gkam the link does NOT justify your original claim.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
"We're going to open up libel laws, and we're going to have people sue you like you've never got sued before."

I can find lots of articles on this. Want more?
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
Specifics aside, I truly fear the hard-liners and extremists Trump is inflicting on us.

Our agencies have already been caught spying on our own people. It is the way to own us, through owning our politicians. Get the goods on them, and you own them.

Trump will give the Medal of Freedom to Assange, Comey, and Putin. Ceremony at Titanpointe. Look it up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
Gkam the link does NOT justify your original claim.
Of course not. As george has said in the past he is here to play the goobers like cheap kazoos. You have a hook in your mouth.
MR166
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2016
As part of the planned chaos Soros is funding Black Lives Matter. Police are being killed daily by assassins. If this continues much longer I fear that the police will be turned into soldiers with us as the enemy. This is just one more step in the plan to destroy the US and it's freedoms.
gkam
Nov 21, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2016
We wanted the best sneaks and liars we could find for the intelligence agencies. Why are we surprised they have no morals?
MR166
not rated yet Nov 21, 2016
The next step in the plan is to ban all cash transactions. In order to insure your health and safety Big Brother needs t know where you shop and what you purchase. Carry too much cash, we are talking in the 1000s here, in the US and the Police can call it drug money and confiscate it without a trial under civil forfeiture laws. You then have to hire an expensive lawyer and go to court in order to get it back.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2016
Thank your Scalia for that. Remember the old days of those black and white movies of people living in police states? "Papers! Where are your papers?", was the terrifying call. We have it here now since Scalia ruled they can lock you up if you cannot prove who you are on demand.

Scalia also ruled that if you can prove you are innocent of a capital crime for which you were convicted, if your appeals are over, the government can still kill you.

Remember the days before we had the Department of Fatherland Security, before Dubya and his disasters? I do.
Arthur_McBride
5 / 5 (2) Nov 22, 2016
Queen Victoria was neither an absolute nor a constitutional monarch, but a so-called "limited monarch" - her powers were limited, by laws such as the Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701, but not clearly defined by a constitution, such as in The Netherlands or Belgium. Most limits on the monarchy in the UK are and were based on tradition, not hard-and-fast laws.


I am no friend of Empires, particularly the British Empire. But Britain most certainly is a constitutional monarchy. Britain is the type specimen that defines a constitutional monarchy. The requirement for a constitutional monarchy is not a piece of paper called a constitution, all it means is the monarch can not make laws on their own.

And no, the Monarch can not dissolve parliament any longer.

Disclaimer: Here in the Republic, we don't need no stinkin' Queen.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2016
We wanted the best sneaks and liars we could find for the intelligence agencies. Why are we surprised they have no morals?
-Says george kamburoff, self professed black ops spook working directly for McNamara at age 20. Another job you lost?

It's not that as a psychopath you weren't sufficiently immoral, it's just that you weren't sufficiently good at it. Like all the other jobs you lied yourself into and then lost. Like all the infantile crap you try to pass off here.
Osiris1
not rated yet Nov 23, 2016
Hey #del2, Read my last post again or are you totally obsessed with your own fixations. No matter what the palace, ANY residence of the so called 'royals' has at some time been abused. Anne Boleyn was a first cousin of a direct ancestor in my family, and no I do not get 'all my information from just 'a novelist'. Charles Dickens was one of the best your country ever produced, and certainly was better spoken and, given the time in which he lived, better educated than you would be if you lived to be a thousand. And a real man. Take a look in the mirror at yourself and have a good cry. Then take your meds. We trace our family history back to William the First. Only then the family name was French from Normandie...De Chene. We provided Queens for English Kings for many centuries.
ThomasQuinn
1 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2016


I am no friend of Empires, particularly the British Empire. But Britain most certainly is a constitutional monarchy. Britain is the type specimen that defines a constitutional monarchy. The requirement for a constitutional monarchy is not a piece of paper called a constitution, all it means is the monarch can not make laws on their own.

And no, the Monarch can not dissolve parliament any longer.

Disclaimer: Here in the Republic, we don't need no stinkin' Queen.


The very definition of constitutional monarch is that the powers and limitations are explicitly defined in a constitution. Hence the term "constitutional". Only some British monarchists claim the title for Britain on the assumption that an "unwritten constitution" should qualify. This is an a-historical point of view.

And yes, the Queen can formally still disband parliament. It would only result in the immediate explicit abolition of this power, but there is no law barring it now.
Arthur_McBride
5 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2016
The very definition of constitutional monarch is that the powers and limitations are explicitly defined in a
Boyo, you were doing pretty good until you got to
constitution.
,,,

The formal definition is: "A constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a written, unwritten or blended constitution."

The U.K. fails in the "blended constitution" category. A constitution under the law, does not require having the word "Constitution" as part of it title. Any old law that limits the power of the monarch will do.

Hence the term "constitutional".
Hence you might notice that "constitutional" as in "constitutional monarch" is not capitalized and is just a generic word meaning "by law".

You don't need to take my word for it, I'm just a dumb Mick who don't need no stinkin' Queen. Try Google.

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