Britain’s intelligence services have officially been given the most wide-ranging and privacy-invading mass surveillance powers in the world, according to critics, after the Investigatory Powers Act became law on Tuesday.
The legislation, dubbed the ‘snooper’s charter,’ authorizes the government to hack into devices, networks and services in bulk, and allows for large databases of personal information on UK citizens to be maintained.
It requires internet, phone and communication app companies to store customers’ records for 12 months and allow authorities to access them on demand.
That data could be anything from internet search history, calls made or messages sent, and will be available to a wide range of agencies, including the Department for Work and Pensions as well as the Food Standards Agency.
Security agencies will also be able to force companies to decrypt data, effectively placing limits on the use of end-to-end encryption.