Trevor Mendham

UK Civil Liberties - New Labour's Record

Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act 2000

The RIP Act was appropriately named - it spelt the death of electronic privacy in the UK.

Under the guise of "tightening up" rules on electronic eavesdropping, RIP was a snoopers' charter.

With RIP in place, it is now compulsory for UK ISPs to monitor users' email contacts and web browsing habits. This information must be passed on to the authorities if demanded and the target of the surveillance must not be informed.

If you were planning to use encryption such as PGP to protect your privacy, forget it. The RIP Act makes it an offence not to hand over your encryption keys on demand. Lost them? Tough - the onus is on you to prove that or face two years in jail.

Of course, we were assured that these powers would be restricted to the relevant authorities and only used for matters of national security. That promise was shown to be worthless in 2002.

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