The UK Police are now requesting access to private internet data that would allow them to view a user’s 12-month traffic history. It’s a new surveillance “Investigatory Powers” bill to be published next week that would force UK based telecommunications companies to retain data for 12 months providing police with information on what websites are visited–the “who, where, when, and what of any communication” says assistant chief constable of Gloucestershire police. If you’re reading this and you don’t think it’s real–trust me, we’re shocked too.
This new bill is not yet law and it will be examined further by both Houses of Parliament before a final vote takes place sometime in 2016.
While this traffic would not be accessed without a judicial warrant–it’s about the larger issue at hand. It’s an effort to control online methods of crime since current methods of surveillance and investigation are becoming more and more limited–but at what cost? Users are signing up for internet and browsing content under the impression that their data, traffic, and personal information are their own. If users are still using a VPN like TorGuard, thankfully, it still is. TorGuard offers military-grade security and encryption that hides traffic and secures data so telecommunication companies can’t snoop.
As in the case of Australia trying to store user metadata, this information would be held by police and telecommunications companies–but the security is no longer in the hands of the user. Sure there are ways to circumvent this logging, but it’s like pouring water onto burning books–it shouldn’t be happening in the first place. In this case, a more accurate analogy might be a police officer coming into your house, taking your mail, copying it, and then assuring you it won’t be read unless you do something wrong. And I thought China and Korea were suppose the be the definitive authoritarian governments!
If this legislation goes through, traffic history data will be in the hands of these external companies with their own private agendas. Who is to say what type of targeting or potential abuse of user information will occur if all of this traffic is analyzed and stored.
If you’re not keen on willingly giving up your personal information to intrusive internet service providers, TorGuard VPN is an excellent privacy solution. There’s a TON of reasons to use a VPN like making your internet traffic encrypted, accessing content without geo restrictions, masking your IP address, and keeping your personal data secure when you visit coffee shops.