- 7 out of 10 people would possibly or definitely use the internet less if their activity was monitored by the government (BestVPN.com)
- UN privacy chief criticizes Investigatory Powers Bill
- Snooper’s Charter on track to become law by end of 2016, despite 93.8% of population disagreeing with its principles
As the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), or ‘Snoopers Charter’, passes its third reading in the House of Lords, new research finds that seven in ten people would curb their internet use if they were being monitored by the government.
Research by BestVPN.com highlights the reservations felt by those who are soon to fall under the remit of the IPB, with 71.5% of those surveyed stating they would change their internet habits if they knew that everything they did online was being tracked and monitored by hundreds of government organisations.
A staggering 7.3% of people went so far as to say that they would not use the internet at all, while one in eight (12.8%) said they would halve their internet usage. In total, 93.8% of those surveyed felt that government organisations such as HMRC should not be able to access their online activity without asking.
Hailed by advocates as essential for tackling the terrorist threat and catching those who exhibit dangerous behavior online, the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ is seen by others as eroding too many civil liberties.
Douglas Crawford, Cyber Security Expert at leading internet privacy and VPN comparison site BestVPN.com, comments:
“The passing of the IPB is a clear move towards the erosion of privacy for individuals and businesses in the UK. A wide range of government organisations will have access to a huge amount of untargeted surveillance metadata. While bulk warrants will only be made available to security organizations (not law enforcement), there is nothing to prevent police from applying for a targeted warrant against an entire organization, such as an entire hostile foreign intelligence service!”
Under the Snooper’s Charter, communications service providers (everything from internet companies and messenger services to postal services), will be legally required to store user communication data for a year.
The new bill has been designed to make it easier for police and government agencies to gather vital information in the fight against crime. However, BestVPN.com’s research has found that more than eight in every ten of us (83%) would still object to HMRC being able to see what they do online, even if doing so would give the government the power to catch tax evaders.
The figures are certainly not indicative of strong support for the IPB. Nor is it just private individuals who are concerned. Even the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, has expressed concern, saying that the planned laws run counter to the way that privacy judgements have recently been heading across Europe, calling on MPs to ensure that, “disproportionate, privacy-intrusive measures such as bulk surveillance and bulk hacking as contemplated in the investigatory powers bill be outlawed rather an legitimised.”