Data powers may expand with new snooper’s charter


Fears over the new Snooper’s charter are growing, as a revision of the proposal expands the powers that the police would have to look at people’s online data, should the bill get passed.

The revised Investigatory Powers Bill, to give it its official name, was published on Tuesday and has worried many people. The Bill has had a convoluted past, being put off and blocked by some parties and political figures for its controversial threat to privacy.

This latest version will extend the powers of the public authorities to access people’s internet history and gain access to smartphones.

It means that data regarding people’s use of the internet will be stored for up to a year before it gets deleted, and will be available in this time, assuming the correct permissions and warrants are granted to the investigators.

This bill, is, however, an update on what has previously been suggested but blocked. It will supposedly involve more privacy safeguards than was suggested before.

But it raises further concerns about the future of our data and the way in which we use the internet. Our attitudes towards it could change, should there be a cultural shift towards open data.

It has been hard to miss the heated debate between Apple and the FBI in regards to cracking into an iPhone used by one of the St Bernardino shooters, and it is going to set a precedent, whatever the outset is.

With technology playing such an integral part of our lives, even in cases where it isn’t used directly in crime, our uses of it and our data is a useful target for investigators looking into cases. But people also become uncomfortable at the thought of their data and their privacy becoming up-for-grabs.

The bill could start changes across the world, setting a precedent for a complete change in attitude towards data and the ways in which the authorities can access it.