Snoopers' charter: Public support for government's Investigatory Powers bill soaring despite criticism from Vodafone, Apple, Facebook and Google

Clara Guibourg
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"The public are quite rightly concerned with their web history being stored"

Britons are increasingly backing the UK government’s so-called snoopers’ charter, as a fresh survey shows support for the proposed legislation to monitor communication skyrocketing in the wake of recent terror threats.

With some 63 per cent now in favour of the controversial Investigatory Powers bill, the survey from Broadband Genie shows a significant shift in public opinion.

Previously, most have opposed the bill, which would give police and security forces access to communication data, but many have been swayed by recent terror threats and attacks. The Islamic State’s attack against Paris in November, which left 130 dead, and recent threats against the UK made by the jihadist group, have caused some 27 per cent to change their minds.

Although public opinion has shifted in favour of the government’s proposal, significant hurdles remain. Following several high-profile data breaches, many are concerned about broadband providers’ ability to keep personal data secure, with 67 per cent of those polled replying they don’t trust providers to store their web history securely.

Rob Hilborn, head of strategy at Broadband Genie, said the government must address how to minimise the risk of data theft:

The public are quite rightly concerned with their web history being stored by service providers for this length of time, especially considering the high profile attacks on TalkTalk and Vodafone last year.

The Investigatory Powers bill has been widely criticised, with a range of tech and telco firms blasting the proposal.

Read more: Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee warns of government "snooper's charter

Vodafone has warned that the proposed legislation risks undermining trust in British telco firms. In a submission to the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill committee, the firm expressed concern that authorities’ power to tap into its network would be a “major imposition on the freedom of an operator”.

The firm is joined by American tech giants in raising concerns, with Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Microsoft all making submissions to the committee warning against attempts to deliberately weaken encryption and weaken security for customers.

The government wants to introduce the new bill to update their power to investigate terrorism, by expanding the police’s powers to monitor communication.

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