UK government quietly rewrites hacking laws to give GCHQ immunity
Ars Technica UK:
The UK government has quietly passed new legislation that exempts GCHQ, police, and other intelligence officers from prosecution for hacking into computers and mobile phones.
While major or controversial legislative changes usually go through normal parliamentary process (i.e. democratic debate) before being passed into law, in this case an amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was snuck in under the radar as secondary legislation. According to Privacy International, “It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner’s Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes… There was no public debate.”
Not surprising, as David Cameron said “for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”
What I find most terrifying is that according to Ars Technica (same link), “only a rather one-sided set of stakeholders [were] being consulted (Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Scotland Office, Northern Ireland Office, GCHQ, police, and National Crime Agency).”