Why UK's draconian surveillance plan won't protect us

The UK will be the only democratic country to watch what its citizens do online, says Renate Samson.

Renate Samson is Chief Executive of civil liberties pressure group Big Brother Watch. The views expressed in this commentary are solely hers.

(CNN)The publication of the draft investigatory powers bill on Wednesday was a golden opportunity for the UK government to draft legislation that would provide security and privacy for the law-abiding citizens of the UK, and then by influence, for the world as a whole. That, however, is not what we have been handed.

What is on the table is a proposal for greater access to greater levels of data with nothing more substantial than a process of judicial review.
Digesting these proposals will take time, but at first glance this is a blueprint for the agencies and police to weaken the security and privacy of the masses in the name of national security. Much like previous attempts to resolve this challenging issue we find ourselves with proposals that appear to work, but once a light is shone on them, reveal problems that cannot be easily resolved or swept under the carpet.
    Renate Samson
    The privacy-challenging proposals are broad reaching; access to encrypted data, the ability to hack devices and systems and a 12 month retention of Internet activity.
      First the UK government has issued a demand to companies to hand over customers' data in a readable format on issue of a warrant. No matter how often they say this is not an attack on encryption, it is.
      Currently Apple is arguing this very point in the U.S. courts. Having been ordered by a court to hand over data from a customer's iPhone they have explained that for 90% of their devices it "would be impossible" for them to adhere to the request. Why? Because the devices prevent access to data without the passcode, which only the device owner knows. This isn't Apple being obstructive; this is about them providing a secure service to their customers. A service that restricts anyone other than the individual knowing the intimate details of their lives.