UK government is at it again, wants “almost real time” internet monitoring and encryption backdoors

Yep, a leaked document seems to outline some changes made to the draft Investigatory Powers bill and they don’t make for pleasant reading. They’re seeking the power to force ISPs in the UK to hand over data requested by a court order in 24 hours and are mandating that the data must be in a non encrypted form when its handed over.


The “live” surveillance of British web users’ internet communications has been proposed in a draft technical paper prepared by the government.


If made law, such access would occur via the Investigatory Powers (IP) Act, which includes provisions for the removal of encryption on content.


The paper was allegedly leaked to civil liberties body the Open Rights Group, which received the document on 4 May.


The Home Office denied there was anything new in the consultation.


Phone companies and internet service providers would be asked to provide “data in near real time” within one working day, according to one clause in the technical capabilities paper.


Such access would need to be sanctioned by secretaries of state and a judge appointed by the prime minister.


The paper also echoes the IP Act itself, noting that tech companies would be required to remove – or enable the removal – of encryption from communications as they would need to be provided “in an intelligible form” without “electronic protection”.


Cryptographers often describe such access as a “backdoor” in the security of communications services.

The bill also stipulates that ISPs must keep theses actions a secret from users if and when it happens.


Under the terms of the Investigatory Powers Act, telecoms firms would have to carry out the requirements of any notices to these effects in secret, so the public would be unaware that such access had been given.


Simultaneous surveillance could occur in bulk, but be limited to one in every 10,000 users of a given service – a maximum of roughly 900 of BT’s 9 million British broadband customers, for instance.

A consultation period on the draft bill ends on May 19th but even then the government might keep the details hidden


A consultation about the paper – due to end on 19 May – is allegedly under way at the moment, though this was not publicly announced by the government.


It does not have a legal obligation notify the public about draft regulations, which would have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament in order to become law.


However, the paper suggests that the regulations have already been seen by the UK’s Technical Advisory Board.


A BT spokesman confirmed the company had received “a copy of draft regulations, to be made under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, in relation to technical capability notices” – but did not comment further.

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