A Surveillance law currently passing through the UK Government.
It consists of several measures:
- All ISPs must provide the goverment with the ability to watch all traffic passing through their networks. If you send and email with naughty words in, accidently (or otherwise) stumble across an illegal website or send an encrypted email expect a visit from your local constabulary.
- The Home Secretary can give a permanent and unchecked license for any governmental organisation to monitor any communications travelling via "electro-magnetic" means.
- A wide range of governmental agencies can gather traffic data - that is what websites you visit and who you send email to.
- A law enforcement agency can demand that you hand over either plaintext or your private encryption keys. You cannot then revoke those keys as this would be informing others that your messages are under surveillance.
- An instant 2 years in prison if you do not immediately hand over decrypted messages. The burden of proof is entirely on you to prove that you cannot decrypt the message. This, of course, is a blatant human rights violation. Not to mention that if a nasty drug dealer/terrorist/paedophile is asked to reveal incriminating evidence about themselves, they would rather take 2 years (6 months with good behaviour) in prison as an alternative to 10 to 20 years in prison...
- An instant 5 years in prison if you reveal to anyone that you are under surveillance. The reason behind this section is that terrorist A cannot tell terrorist B that he is being watched.
- Surveillance data cannot be used in a court of law. You have no way of knowing if you are the target of surveillance - legitimate or otherwise. At no point can you discover if you were ever being watched.
There is a lot of information on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (UK):
It should be obvious to anyone that this bill is very, very wrong. Read about it and contact your MP. New Labour is pushing this bill very hard, often under the banner of It's for the Children's sake. Don't let the argument of the innocent have nothing to fear sway you. There have been in the past and will be in the future many miscarriages of justice. And we all know how easy it is to mix up emails, weblogs or other text files; the next person could be you
I'd imagine that others have many things to say on this bill, and may want to correct my text as well. Please do so