In a move to give government agencies access to any and all personal records related to things such as browsing history, The Investigatory Powers Act has just swept through Parliament and simultaneously swept away any semblance of privacy when it comes to electronic records. On November 29 The Queen signed the act into law.

New IPA ISP and Wi-Fi rules

The Investigatory Powers Act requires all ISPs (Internet service providers) and Wi-Fi Hotspots to retain all records of anyone in the UK accessing any web site. Further, the new law permits police agencies to access those previously private records without informing the subject of the investigation or any need to obtain further legal permission.

The Internet Service Providers are also required to store those records of who accessed a web site and when they did so for an extended period which could also impose hardships on private Wi-Fi Hotspot operators who will need to increase their data storage and backup capabilities to comply.

The new IPA rules would give the UK government access to private records which go far beyond that of any other Western democracy, even outdoing the hated U.S. Patriot Act which was passed in the peak of fear following 9/11.

Trump on surveillance

Could the U.S. be soon to follow on the UK's lead with its own version of the Investigatory Powers Act?

During the recent presidential campaign, President Elect Trump made it clear that he favored implementing vastly increased powers to surveil anyone in the U.S., but especially any Muslims.

Trump's election may mean that Americans are about to face a Big Brother the likes of which we haven't seen before, even just after the panic caused by terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Protect yourself

Using the anonymous TOR browser to access the Internet may provide some protection for those such as journalists and their sources, it isn't certain, nor is it certain it will be legal to use such concealment methods.

But it is certain that using a secure end-to-end email service such as Protonmail, the highly secure Swiss based email service developed by MIT and CERN scientists and based entirely in a facility 1000 feet below ground.

Google and other search engines were already known to collect every bit of data they can from visitors and have turned over some of those records to government agencies - so much for privacy.

There are browsers such as Yippy which do not collect any personal data or even record the IP address of the searcher. That is important because given the precise access time and base ISP address agencies could easily find what people have searched for if the search engine itself records that data.