Contentious UK Spy Bill Due to Become Law

Britain’s Parliament has passed a controversial spy bill allowing authorities to store and access the Internet browsing history of everyone in the country. The Investigatory Powers Bill, to become law next week, has been met with alarm by civil liberties groups, who say the legislation gives the green light for mass surveillance of innocent citizens. The government has sought to downplay concerns over the bill, saying it “ensures powers are fit for the digital age” in order to fight terrorism and major crime, according to the Associated Press. But critics warn it’s far too wide-ranging, giving access to numerous government bodies that have nothing to do with fighting crime – including the Food Standards Agency. Julian Huppert, a former Liberal Democrat lawmaker who opposed the bill, warned that it would create an “intrusive database” for virtually everyone in the government to see. “People may have been to the Depression Alliance website, or a marriage guidance website, or an abortion provider's website, or all sorts of things which are very personal and private,” he was quoted as saying by the AP. The law also legalizes British spies’ ability to hack into devices, and a warrant won’t be required for authorities to access the database of citizens’ browsing history.