UK Passes Snooper's Charter Bill, Edward Snowden Calls It 'Most Extreme Surveillance in the History of Western Democracy'

2016 just keeps on kicking us in the collective nuts. This time it's another blow for the UK as news comes that the UK government—who seem to have snuck it in while everyone was busy looking across the pond at the presidential election results—has passed the so-called Snooper's Charter bill.

If you are not up on current world news take a look at the video below that explains how all your information will be at the beck and call of the British government, and for a bit of light relief see CassettBoy's reaction to this proposal in the video above. It gives you some idea of what the Snooper's Charter bill is about.

It has passed both the House of Lords and House of Commons and now after receiving royal assent, the Queen's agreement, which it will get in the next few weeks, it will become law.

It's official title is the Investigatory Powers Bill and it's a huge expansion of the British government's surveillance powers, the biggest overhaul in a decade. The bill has been heavily criticized by human rights organizations like Liberty who have said it will effectively "all but end online privacy."

As ZDNet explains:

The law will force internet providers to record every internet customer's top-level web history in real-time for up to a year, which can be accessed by numerous government departments; force companies to decrypt data on demand -- though the government has never been that clear on exactly how it forces foreign firms to do that that; and even disclose any new security features in products before they launch.

Not only that, the law also gives the intelligence agencies the power to hack into computers and devices of citizens (known as equipment interference), although some protected professions -- such as journalists and medical staff -- are layered with marginally better protections.

In other words, it's the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy," according to Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group.

The bill has seen Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo! all attack it and call it wrong, while the UN's privacy chief called it "worse than scary." Edward Snowden said on Twitter that it made Britain worse in terms of surveillance than a lot of autocracies.

As to when it could all come into effect. Wired journalist Matt Burgess who recently tweeted about the bill being passed, has said that "ISPs said it would probably be 2018 before they could build anything." But it could be a lot sooner like next year when the bill is executed.

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