Last week, the UK voted the Conservative party back into power with (to many people’s surprise) a majority in the House of Commons.
That means they no longer need the support of the Liberal Democrats, whose MPs were culled to such an extent that they can now all fit in a couple of London taxi cabs with room to spare.
What does that mean for computer security and privacy? Well, potentially quite a lot.
Because it was the Liberal Democrats who had been putting the kibosh on the so-called “Snooper’s Charter” (also known as the Communications Data Bill) which would mean the detailed metadata of every email, social media interaction and website visit would be recorded.
But all that’s changed now. The Lib Dems are irrelevant, and David Cameron’s Conservative government feels it has been given a mandate to proceed with the bill which would see British ISPs storing huge amounts of data about customers’ activity, and forced to share it with the authorities.
Once in place, the Snooper’s Charter would mean that police would not have to seek permission to access details of your online communications, if investigating a crime.
Theresa May has been reappointed Home Secretary by Cameron, and once again she will be pushing hard for the bill to be introduced.
And although the likes of the Scottish National Party (SNP), who saw phenomenal election success with 56 new MPs arriving at Westminster, say they hope to join forces with Tory rebels to prevent its introduction, one has to wonder what realistic chances there are for the Snooper’s Charter to be derailed.
Which is bad news for those who value our privacy, and believe that occasional terrorist acts are an acceptable cost if we want to keep our personal freedom and liberty.
My advice? If you haven’t done so already, start thinking now about how you can keep your online activity private.
Get a VPN to disguise what websites you are visiting from your ISP, and read up on the secure messaging apps that do the most to protect your private communications from snoopers.
For more advice, check out the great guide from the EFF about surveillance self defence.
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