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Investigatory Power Bill: Intrusive or much needed?

The Union Flag also known as the Union Jack is pictured flying from the Jackstaff onboard a Royal Navy warship. When the first flag representing Britain was introduced on the proclamation of King James I in 1606, it became known simply as "the British flag" or "the flag of Britain". The royal proclamation gave no distinctive name to the new flag. The word "jack" was in use before 1600 to describe the maritime bow flag. By 1627 a small Union Jack was commonly flown in this position. One theory goes that for some years it would have been called just "the Jack", or "Jack flag", or "the King's Jack", but by 1674, while formally referred to as "His Majesty's Jack", it was commonly called the Union Jack, and this was officially acknowledged.

Government surveillance is a strategy for counter terrorism but it comes at the expense of something as crucial as privacy.

Last week, the UK parliament passed the Investigatory Power’s Bill which will replace the Regulation of Investigatory Power’s bill from 2000.

Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance in the UK and US increased interest in government surveillance online and this bill will give government the ability to intercept and hack into millions of citizens’ communication.

Theresa May initially introduced this bill as Home Secretary and the law was passed by legislative houses as it is believed that the Royal House will sign it into law by the end of the month.

The bill has been given the sobriquet the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ and will put Britain at the forefront of mass surveillance worldwide with hacking and an access to a bulk of data.

This bill would see the UK look to partner with US technology giants Google, Facebook and Apple to accrue information which could present an obstacle in a post Apple v FBI world.

Apple refused to help the Federal Bureau of Investigations access the phone of the San Bernardino shooter in December which could set the tone for how multi-national corporations approach privacy.

A person does not need to be suspected of any wrongdoing to be hacked by the police as a person’s communications could be hoovered up by the security services.

The line between security and invasion of privacy must not be blurred with such an initiative as the government would need a warrant to compel tech companies to grant them access to such information.

MI5, MI6 and the Government Communications Headquarters can request information as after Snowden’s files, such an extensive access to people’s online lives has already sparked debate.

The UK are now the pacesetters for surveillance and could shape the future relationships between government, the people and non-governmental organisations.

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