Call on government to halt Investigatory Powers Bill in wake of Brexit “political crisis”

Written as editor of the New Statesman’s NS Tech and first published here.

The controversial Investigatory Powers Bill is due for its second reading in the House of Lords today but campaigners have urged for this to be halted in the wake of Brexit.

The Open Rights Group’s executive Director, Jim Killock, said:

“With the current political crisis, we cannot expect that such an important bill, with far-reaching consequences, will receive the scrutiny it needs. Until this crisis is resolved, and a new Prime Minister is in place, the IP Bill should be put on hold. The UK cannot legislate on matters of national security until its future is clear.”

The bill, as it stands, could take an unreasonable toll on business.

While concessions made in parliament mean that technology companies will not have to build backdoors into encryption software, judges can demand that firms create tools to help them access communications.

Public and private databases will be open to access by security services and provisions have been made for the hacking of devices of people who are not direct suspects of a crime.

Internet Service Providers will have to keep databases of things like people’s web and app browsing history, but the government says it will reimburse them for the cost of complying.

With a lot of civil rights protections written into European law, the next few months and years could be a critical moment for UK citizens’ digital rights.

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