Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Web Freedom - RIP?

Heavily draconian intrusive surveillance powers speeding through parliament

6th April 2000

A new piece of legislation currently working its way through parliament will erode both traditional civil liberties and the freedom of the web, more than any previous bill before it.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIP) is destined to enshrine-in-law unaccountable methods of intrusive surveillance on individuals, groups and organisations, as well as extending police and secret service powers to embrace the internet. The Bill will enable law enforcement agencies to conduct systematic targeting of an individual over a period of time in order "to obtain a picture of his life, activities and his associates."

Here's one case scenario which may result from the new legislation. Say either the police or British intelligence service decide that the SQUALL website is a bit too subversive for their liking. They can decide for themselves that the SQUALL website contains information which relates to a definition of serious crime which includes "conduct by a large number of people in pursuit of a common purpose" and/or a new definition of terrorism which includes "threats against property" for an "ideological or political" reason (eg ripping up genetically modified crops) or material which concerns "the interests of public safety" or "detecting [ordinary] crime".

Then under the RIP bill they will be able to go to our internet service provider (ISP) and demand all the codes for SQUALL's e-mail and website. The ISP is then bound under RIP to handover these codes and, what's more, anyone in the ISP who tells SQUALL that the site is being tampered with and our e-mail intercepted, is liable for an unlimited fine and/or five years in prison. The fact that SQUALL was ever tampered with must remain a "secret" for all time. The agencies which will be allowed to conduct this kind of business are listed in the Bill as MI5, MI6, GCHQ, National Criminal Intelligence Service, the police, customs, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence plus non-UK government's or agencies who have mutual assistance agreements with the UK government.

SQUALL fervently recommends that our readers take serious note of the implications of the RIP, which alongside the Terrorism Bill also speeding through parliament at the moment, is the most draconian legislation we have ever written about. A more indepth analysis is coming to these pages soon.

Useful Links

Related Articles
RAISING TERROR - The Terrorism Bill currently hurrying through parliament could be one of the most liberty-corrosive pieces of legislation for decades - March-2000