Last week saw the quiet passing of the ‘Snooper’s Charter 2.0′ and internet service providers (ISPs) are not happy.
The Investigatory Powers Bill, that will require ISPs to log the online activity of their UK customers, was approved by the House of Lords on November 19th and is expected to receive royal ascent before the end of the year.
Critics of the regulation are concerned hackers will be able to infiltrate stored details of their customers’ online movements. James Blessing, chairman of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) said: “It only takes one bad actor to go in there and get the entire database. You can try every conceivable thing in the entire world to protect it, but somebody will still outsmart you.
"Mistakes will happen. It’s a question of when. Hopefully it’s in tens or maybe a hundred years. But it might be next week.”
The Bill had been introduced by then home secretary Theresa May several times but was never passed through the Houses of Parliament. Now as prime minister, May has used her wider spread of influence to surreptitiously pass the Bill with little fanfare.
Some virtual private network (VPN) providers have also been sceptical of the bill. Caleb Chen, a spokesman for Private Internet Access, said: “The legislation specifically mentions connection service providers and not just ISPs, and the assumption is that VPNs based in the UK will have to give up their logs under this law.
"But as a US-based company, my legal team has advised me that we would not be under any obligation to do so.
"And even if the Government were to try to take it a step further and say no UK citizen could use a VPN that was not compliant with the law, those services would still be available."
He also said that the Bill might affect the adoption of VPNs by businesses to allow staff to remotely access company servers and that it will make the use of the technology complicated.