Human rights group Liberty rips into Snooper's Charter with video highlighting privacy issues


The Snooper's Charter -- or the Investigatory Powers Bill -- is a highly controversial piece of legislation the UK government is trying to bring into force to allow for the bulk collection of data, NSA-style. Outside of government, it is widely regarded as a massive invasion of privacy, and the human rights group Liberty is just one of the organizations that is very vocally opposed to it.

The bill will require ISPs to record customers' browsing histories for an entire year, and will permit the government to remotely hack phones and computers, as well as requiring tech companies to provide backdoor access to encrypted data. To highlight what is at stake, Liberty is running a No #SnoopersCharter campaign, and has released a video that attacks the notion of 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear' head on.

A joint venture between Liberty and the Don't Panic agency, the video sees comedian Olivia Lee approaching strangers in the street, asking to browse their phones. The people featured in the video have reactions that range from weirded out to simply resorting to saying 'f**k off', but Liberty is keen to get across the idea that the invasive nature of what Lee is asking for is precisely what the government is seeking to access -- only without permission.

Joe Wade, managing director at Don't Panic explains:

We used hidden cameras to pick up people's reaction caused by Olivia's invasive baiting which highlights that people do and should care about their privacy. The use of hidden cameras was to reflect the very nature of how the government plans to pass this bill, hidden from the public and to convey a sense of unwarranted invasiveness that will come with the Snoopers' Charter.

On its campaign website Liberty says:

The Government's new Snoopers' Charter (also known as the Investigatory Powers Bill) will allow the bulk collection of all our personal information. Who we talk to; what we say; where we are; what we look at online -- everything.

The Home Secretary claims this will make us safer -- it won't. Mass surveillance is ineffective in preventing serious crime.

We need targeted, not total surveillance.

Check out the video in its entirety below:

Bella Sankey, Policy Director for Liberty, explains the importance of opposing the bill:

As this film shows, people in Britain value their personal privacy -- even Home Office staff are unwilling to reveal their phone records for no good reason. But the Government’s latest Snoopers' Charter would make everyone's online activity available to the authorities to speculatively trawl through without good reason and without us ever being told.

It will all but end online privacy, put our personal security at risk and swamp law enforcement with swathes of useless information. People need to make it clear to MPs -- we don't want the Government building profiles of our personal lives with no justification and this Bill must stopped.

Find out more about the campaign on the No Snooper's Charter page.

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