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Reverse The Investigatory Powers Bill (Snoopers Charter)

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Stop the IPB

Many of you may have heard of the Investigatory Powers Bill (also known as the IPB, or snoopers charter), but what exactly is it and why should it matter to you.

The Investigatory Powers Bill is a bill presented by Theresa May, that covers many different aspects, however the one of primary concern and of greatest threat to our privacy, is the surveillance side which entitles UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies to effectively intercept ANY and ALL communications entering or leaving the UK, including people who have never committed a crime in their life.
Many people think because they use encryped services (encryption is a way of meaning only the two people in the chat are supposed to be able to see the chat) that this won't matter, however they couldn't be more wrong. The UK authorities are already in talks with a lot of these providers, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple, etc, in an attempt to undermine your data. Luckily many of these companies have stood firm and refused to offer what are known as "back doors", a way of accessing protected data without passwords or encryption keys. [Reference: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/uk-spying-laws-uk-government-introduces-law-requiring-whatsapp-and-imessage-to-be-broken-a6905106.html
The problem is the people who are pushing for these changes do not understand the technology. They think putting in a "back door" will ONLY allow THEM to access your data, but this is not the case. You open a back door for one person and it will be found by others. This bill undermines our security, our right to privacy and even our free speech. When you logon to your bank you initiate an encrypted connection, imagine if a hacker found this supposedly hidden back door and used it to steal your personal information as well as account funds. This is only one possibility out of a million catastrophic things which could go wrong if this bill is allowed to go ahead.

The bill covers effectively all technological devices, enabling the authorities to either intercept, spy and hack your information and communications or even force you to decrypt your data. The UK is one of the only countries (if not the only) in the world, where refusal to decrypt your data for authorities can land you in prison. This is currently enacted by the 2000 RIPA Act (or the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part III) "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 part III (RIPA 3) gives the UK power to authorities to compel the disclosure of encryption keys or decryption of encrypted data by way of a Section 49 Notice. A suspect instructed to disclose keys can be prevented from telling anyone else about it, outside of their legal representative. Refusal to comply can result in a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment, or five years in cases involving national security[1] or child indecency[2].".

The issue is the term "National Security" is a very broad title. Take for example recent events in America, there is a device known to the public as a "Stingray", which acts as a mobile broadcast tower and tricks your phone into locking on to it so they can find your location.
This devices (which the authorities tried to keep secret) according to the FBI was developed for "National Security" and serious crime (AKA murder, kidnappings, etc), however recently it has been reported that the Maryland police deployed theirs to catch a thief who had stolen $50 worth of chicken wings and sandwiches.
There have already been scandels in our country, proving that our government cannot be trusted (such as the MP expenses scandel in 2009), so how do we know this technology isn't going to be used against us for really basic things. Think about it, would you want the anti-terror unit bashing down your door because you made a joke to a friend about "blowing up" something?
It has been noted in the news that the GCHQ, who vacuum up thousands of terabytes of internet traffic a day, have been building profiles of innocent internet users [Reference: https://theintercept.com/2015/09/25/gchq-radio-porn-spies-track-web-users-online-identities/

We were (and maybe still are) the most covered country by CCTV. There is one CCTV camera in the UK for every 11 people, an extrodinary number. Now our government want to add tracking our phones, intercepting our text messages, whatsapps, emails, downloads, skype history, web browing...the list is endless. [Reference: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10172298/One-surveillance-camera-for-every-11-people-in-Britain-says-CCTV-survey.html

A few closing notes:

Governments use terrorism as an excuse for passing these new laws, however it is a FACT that terror attacks in the last two years have NOT used encryption, in fact they have used standard text messages but relied on burner phones (a phone which is used for a very short period of time then disposed of). [Reference: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/paris-terrorist-attacks-burner-phones-not-encryption/

The world is already under mass surveillance, most notably the UK's GCHQ (government communications head quarters) and America's NSA (national security agency). They hoover up data by the petabye and already watch almost everything we do. Other countries around the world are known to do this, such as Canada and Australia.

Under the new bill ISP's (internet service providers) will be required to keep communication data from their clients, you and me, for up to 12 months. This threatens to push broadband prices up substantially. The goverment has allocated £175,000,000 for ISP's to do this, however the reality is it will cost A LOT more to store such a huge amount of data, which the ISP's will have to pay, the cost of which will come from us, effectively meaning we're paying for the government to watch us. [Reference: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/11/broadband-bills-increase-snoopers-charter-investigatory-powers-bill-mps-warned

Privacy advocates and world leaders everywhere have condemmed this bill and so should we. We have a right to a private life. A study has proven that introducing programmes like this actually limit free speech, as people are afraid of having their messages intercepted. [Reference: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/internet-and-surveillance-UN-makes-the-connection

Terrorism works by making people live in fear and taking away their life. Allowing the UK government access to every single intricate detail of our personal lives is unacceptable, takes away our privacy and in itself is an act of terrorism, forcing people into a life of obscurity and conformity.

The UK goverment have tried to put a positive spin on things by saying things like "we only look at the header information" (a piece of data which is sent to a remote site to request the resource you are looking for), however as I said before they do not understand this technology, and are not aware of how revealing this small piece of information can be.
They have said there is a "double lock", meaning things must be approved by "judicial" review as well as the home secretary, however as we have seen from the US's spy court this quite often becomes a "rubber stamp" meaning they glance at it, say no problem, stamp it and give it back (in 2015 the court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They did not reject a single application). [Reference: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cybersecurity-surveillance-idUSKCN0XR009

I accept that these are trying times we live in and we need to do what we can to protect ourselves and our country, but undermining the privacy of every individual within the UK and any foreign persons, as this bill also authorises the authorities to hack remote states.

**THIS BILL HAS ALREADY PASSED** And we need to stand up and fight for it to be scrapped, until government ministers have spoken to technical experts and realised the huge damage this bill can do.

It has been claimed "Privacy is built into the bill", when nothing could be further from the truth.

I emplore as many of you to sign this petition as possible, if you do not agree that is fine but please pass it on to family and friends, so every UK citizen has a voice and a chance to be heard. For too long the UK government has ignored the voice of the people, we must rise up and fight against them, fight for our right to privacy, for a free internet and most important for ourselves!

Thank you for taking the time to read everything, and I encourage you to look around on the internet for these issues, as the government has kept the media large quiet about these issues. Some keywords for you look for: ipb, investigatory powers bill, gchq, nsa, snowden revelations, gchq hacking, gchq nsa, gchq nsa hacking, stingray cell phone tracker.
I encourage you to look on The Guardians website and search GCHQ, where you will find many articles.

Stay private!
- John



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