UK Surveillance Bill: A Risk to Data Security and Privacy, Says ICO

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According to a recent report issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office, UK Surveillance Bill has been declared a great threat. The report points out the risks related to data security and warns against weakened encryption.

The ICO has also declared that the requirement to store data for one whole year is really suspicious. The Investigatory Power Bill aims to extend the surveillance capabilities of the intelligence agencies. This IP Bill is an attempt of the government to pass a new law by the end of this year.

While answering a question, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham commented on the need to find the right balance between privacy and security. He said

 “It’s really hard to conclude whether the bill will maintain the balance or not because we don’t have any real evidence yet.”

Christopher suggested that a clause for yearly renewal should be incorporated so as to maintain proportionality of this bill. The move will also minimize the risks associated with data retention overreach.

Parliament renews the Prevention of Terrorism Act every year. I think that similar step can be taken on the same grounds.

Apple has also voiced its concerns about some parts of this bill. In accordance, Apple has submitted its report to a committee which enlists its objections to the IP Bill. The report highlights the fact that the great minds of the world are not able to rewrite the mathematics laws. In their opinion, any process weakening the mathematical models will ultimately weaken the encryption.

IC has responded saying:

“Data protection is the basic right according to the charter of fundamental rights of European Union and I believe that such information is much important to overcome terrorism and minimize crimeIt’s better to review it to understand the use of data that will be required to be retained by the communication service providers. 

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Twitter have also objected to IP Bill. They have shown their unease with this bill, submitting their own reports to the commission.

The joint selection committee is still recording the evidences of different companies and individuals. A report will probably be filed by the next month.

The committee will try to seek a perfect balance between privacy and security. However, the concerns of stakeholders will also be taken into account.



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