Sweep­ing spy bill now be­comes law

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

In Bri­tain, Big Brother just got big­ger.

Af­ter months of wran­gling, Par­lia­ment has passed a con­tentious new snoop­ing law that gives au­thor­i­ties — from po­lice and spies to food reg­u­la­tors, fire of­fi­cials and tax in­spec­tors — pow­ers to look at the in­ter­net brows­ing records of ev­ery­one in the coun­try.

The law re­quires tele­coms com­pa­nies to keep records of all users’ web ac­tiv­ity for a year, cre­at­ing data­bases of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion that the firms worry could be vul­ner­a­ble to leaks and hack­ers.

Civil lib­er­ties groups say the law es­tab­lishes mass sur­veil­lance of Bri­tish cit­i­zens, fol­low­ing in­no­cent in­ter­net users from the of­fice to the liv­ing room.

Tim Bern­ers-Lee, the com­puter sci­en­tist cred­ited with in­vent­ing World Wide Web, tweeted news of the law’s pas­sage with the words: “Dark, dark days.”

The In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers Bill — dubbed the “snoop­ers’ char­ter” by crit­ics — was passed by Par­lia­ment this month.

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