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Sample Essay on Surveillance in the UK

March 23rd, 2016

Surveillance Law

The UK intelligence agencies are about to get new spying powers that are intended to keep the World Wide Web from being used for crime. But the whole point about the surveillance law is that it may fundamentally change the life of regular internet users, who use technology as well.

British Conservative Party politician, Theresa May, has brought light to the new powers that will help the country to fight against pedophiles and terrorists on the internet. Even though the intentions of May seem to be good, there are some weak points in the politician’s spying ideas. In particular, those powers have special requirements that internet companies are obliged to meet. All of them must keep customers’ information, to track whether or not they have some ties to organized crime.

As stated by the members of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the spying law proposed by the UK politician takes away all the privacy protection, also it gives local intelligence agencies unreasonably wide spectrum of rights to access personal information. The Committee is one of just several bodies that scrutinized May’s suggestions regarding cyber control.

Among the concerns caused by the surveillance law are the bulk of hacking powers that authorities are provided with, particularly the right to tap directly into the smartphone and the rest of the similar gadgets. Moreover, the major concern expressed by the critics is that the authorities will have the right to access individuals’ phone data that wouldn’t pose any danger.

In other words, the UK authorities will enjoy the access to everything that your PC or smartphone does. Although Theresa May keeps insisting that the surveillance law is nothing, but “the modern equivalent of the so-called itemized phone bill”, it will actually provide more details than that. For instance, British authorities will be provided with the whole list of social web sites and communications applications that are being used by the person. The authorities will be always aware of anyone using Facebook, however, they won’t know the details of the online chats.

Another requirement of the UK surveillance law is that each of the providers of the communications services will have to keep the browsing information for not less than a year. The experts are not ready yet to talk about what form it all will take and what other protections will be applied.

Communications service providers that will be forced to keep the browsing data have told that the law may damage their business with costs to keep users’ information, as well as by requiring them to help the authorities hack their systems.

A range of the UK companies, such as TalkTalk, Google, BT Group Plc and Facebook Incorporation, have expressed their concerns as well, pointing at the law potential to undermine users’ trust and to allow the authorities to invade customers’ privacy.

As for the smartphones, the conversations via devices have been secret to everyone, including the law enforcement. From now on, the Wilson Doctrine will be reversed completely, while the spy agencies will easily access the conversations between the politicians and their constituents.

Will this be helpful in combating cyber terrorism? Time will show. But at the moment, doubts regarding the communication safely passing over the internet are already assailing the regular users.



James Ball, Julian Borger and Glenn Greenwald, ‘Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security’, The Guardian (6 September 2013), http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-securit.

Home Affairs Committee – Seventeenth Report, Counter-terrorism, 30 April 2014, paragraph 163.

How the NSA’s MUSCULAR program collects too much data from Yahoo and Google’, Washington Post (30 October 2013).

Nick Hopkins and Julian Borger, ‘Exclusive: NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ’, The Guardian (1 August 2013).

United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-eighth sessions, Third Committee, Agenda item 69(b).

Sir David Omand, ‘Enhancing surveillance transparency: A UK policy framework’, Big Brother Watch, (April 2014).

Ofcom, The Communications Market 2013: Internet, http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr13/internet-web/.

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