An anonymous reader writes with some of the latest news about the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Ars reports: "Buried in the 300 pages of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper's Charter), published on Wednesday, is something called a 'technical capability notice' (Section 189). Despite its neutral-sounding name, this gives the UK's home secretary almost unlimited power to impose 'an obligation on any relevant operators'—any obligation—subject to the requirement that 'the Secretary of State considers it is reasonable to do so.' There is also the proviso that 'it is (and remains) practicable for those relevant operators to comply with those requirements,' which probably rules out breaking end-to-end encryption, but would still allow the home secretary to demand that companies add backdoors to their software and equipment. That's bad enough, but George Danezis, an associate professor in security and privacy engineering at University College London, points out that the Snooper's Charter is actually much, much worse. The Investigatory Powers Bill would also make it a criminal offense, punishable with up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine, for anyone involved to reveal the existence of those backdoors, in any circumstances (Section 190(8).)"
Professor of journalism at City University Heather Brook writes at the Gaurdian: "When the Home Office and intelligence agencies began promoting the idea that the new investigatory powers bill was a “climbdown”, I grew suspicious. If the powerful are forced to compromise they don’t crow about it or send out press releases – or, in the case of intelligence agencies, make off-the-record briefings outlining how they failed to get what they wanted. That could mean only one thing: they had got what they wanted. So why were they trying to fool the press and the public that they had lost? Simply because they had won. I never thought I’d say it, but George Orwell lacked vision
. The spies have gone further than he could have imagined, creating in secret and without democratic authorization the ultimate panopticon. Now they hope the British public will make it legitimate."