Some days it seems the UK is on a rocket sled to privacy hell, the rails of which are being laid with ostensibly good intentions. This ARS Technica article lays out some of the near term way points. One marker that just flew by:
Last year one of the more troubling provisions of the UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) finally came into effect. This piece of legislation made it a criminal offense to refuse to decrypt almost any encrypted data residing within the UK if demanded by authorities as part of a criminal investigation. The penalty for failure to decrypt is up to two years imprisonment for “normal” crime, and up to five years for “terrorism.”
As always, its all about terrorism. Or crime. Perhaps drugs. Whatever.
Another marker coming up quick:
Moving swiftly on, the British government has outlined a number of options it is considering legislating next year. Chief among these is the creation of an immense database containing information about every phone call and Internet connection made within the UK. Unsurprisingly, this has been widely branded as an Orwellian, Big Brother database.
Of course to make this database work there are rules being considered to require a passport or other form of identification to purchase a cell phone.