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Home Government Tech Policy UK seeks 'real-time' surveillance of populace

UK seeks 'real-time' surveillance of populace

The British government is contemplating legislation that would make it mandatory for Internet communications to be provided to agencies within a day after they were conducted.

Such requirements, if made law, would be under the scope of the Investigatory Powers Act which contains provisions for removal of encryption, the BBC reported.

The proposals were contained in a draft technical paper that was leaked to the civil liberties group, Open Rights Group.

The document was leaked on 4 May and the consultation on its contents is meant to end on 19 May.

While the paper has not been made public, it appears that its contents have already been seen by the UK's Technical Advisory Board.

Under the Investigatory Powers Act, which was passed in 2016 and that legalises a range of tools for snooping and hacking by the security services, telecommunications companies would have to meet any demands made in secret.

Simultaneous surveillance could occur in bulk, but be limited to one in every 10,000 users of a given service.

The paper also makes note of the fact that technology companies would have to remove - or enable the removal - of encryption so that communications could be provided "in an intelligible form" without "electronic protection".

The British government has been pushing for back-doors in software and common apps; for example, after the recent UK terrorist incident, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd demanded that all encrypted messaging apps allow intelligence agencies access to content when they demanded.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.