U.S. Tech Companies Make Requests Regarding UK Investigatory Powers Bill
Having been knee-deep in the iPhone 5C hoopla, the US has kind of forgotten about Britain’s proposed investigatory powers bill. Surely you can't have forgotten about ‘The Snooper’s Charter’?
The bill attempts to unify Britain’s laws on surveillance and spying and make them fit for the 21st century. Critics are more critical, or course, accusing Britain’s conservative government of trying to rush it through parliament.
While the US tech-watchers may have forgotten about the proposed investigatory powers bill, US tech companies have not.
"In written evidence submitted Thursday, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have together highlighted what they regard as problems that have previously been highlighted with the bill, and not yet adequately addressed."
Top of the list — surprise, surprise — it’s encryption. The filing says,
Clarity on encryption is still required. Our companies believe that encryption is a fundamental security tool, important to the security of the digital economy as well as crucial to ensuring the safety of web users worldwide. The Bill provides for the power to issue technical capability notices requiring, among other things, the removal of electronic protection where reasonably practicable.
The companies suggest amending the bill with the understanding that on services that are encrypted end-to-end, it will not be reasonably practicable to provide decrypted content.
They’d like that decided upfront rather than leaving to a case by case basis. Stronger oversight to the powers granted to law enforcement in the bill is also called for the by the companies. And finally they want to make sure that their networks are kept safe and they’re told about anything that might put them at risk.
According to the filing, again,
"There are no statutory provisions relating to the importance of network integrity and cyber security, nor a requirement for agencies to inform companies of vulnerabilities they identify and may be exploited by other actors. We urge the Government to make clear that actions taken under authorization do not introduce new risks or vulnerabilities for users or businesses, and that the goal of eliminating vulnerabilities is one shared by the UK Government."
We will be following the Snoopers Charter very carefully, especially since it's trying to come through the back door with no major outcry like the SOPA bill.
Source : Business Insider