This November, the UK will mark the one-year anniversary since Investigatory Powers Act was passed.
During this year, the bill has received widespread criticism for its intrusive techniques of extreme surveillance. Now, UK intelligence agencies will face claims in the European court of human rights for intercepting private communications in bulk.
“We’ve expressed our concerns from the beginning that an over-intrusive surveillance will backfire,” says Marty Kamden, chief marketing officer of NordVPN. “Currently, numerous civil rights groups are suing the UK government for illegally retaining and examining data that belongs to various foreign organisations.
“No entity should be allowed to legally intercept data that belongs to a foreign company or organization.
“We see this as the most intrusive violation of privacy and freedom of speech. There is also a great concern that other governments may follow UK’s lead, and people will start slowly losing any freedom of expression around the world.”
Bulk interception programs used by the UK government — such as Tempora, Upstream and Prism — enable government agencies to access and store a backup of the Internet activity entering and leaving the UK through fibre optic cables.
“One of the biggest issues is that the UK government is storing huge amounts of private and sensitive foreign communications data,” says Kamden. “This data can be accessed and exposed by hackers and misused for any purpose, including identity theft.”
He adds that NordVPN subscriptions have tripled in the UK over the last year. “A VPN allows people to share information online privately and securely.”
A VPN encrypts user’s data and reroutes it through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet – this protects any sensitive information about one’s location by hiding their IP address.
Other ways to secure online safety include strong passwords, cautious online sharing and the use of encrypted email and encrypted communications .