A bill giving the UK intelligence agencies and police the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world has passed into law with barely a whimper, meeting only token resistance over the past 12 months from inside parliament and barely any from outside.
The Investigatory Powers Act, passed on Thursday, legalises a whole range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services unmatched by any other country in western Europe or even the US.
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Time For Truth: (The Guardian) – 'Extreme surveillance' becomes UK law with barely a whimper
Spy Booth depicting three Fifties style spies in trenchcoats and trilbies, was painted on the side of a house in Fairview Road, Cheltenham, in April 2014 after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of GCHQ surveillance.
The mural was removed over the weekend by a man using a power drill and has been reduced to a pile of rubble.
LAST MONTH, I met Edward Snowden in a hotel in central Moscow, just blocks away from Red Square. It was the first time we’d met in person; he first emailed me nearly two years earlier, and we eventually created an encrypted channel to journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, to whom Snowden would disclose overreaching mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, GCHQ.
John Bayliss, a former official at Britain’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ, said spies could also be sitting outside key buildings in vans intercepting information from computer screens.
He also warned Islamic State militants were sophisticated enough to use the mobile phone spying technology in Britain.
The total redrafting of UK surveillance laws was under growing challenge on Wednesday night after an initially broad political welcome gave way to alarm at the detail of the proposed sweeping powers for spies.