Your Data and the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

Your hard disk drive stores all the files and folders on your computer. You know about these files: the ones that are your photographs or your business and work data, but remember also that your internet history and the files, photographs, films and music you stream whilst online are also saved to your hard drive. Also included in this ever growing number of files saved to your hard drive are your emails and other communications like your Twitter and Facebook interactions. Now you may think you are the only person who can access this data but you’d be wrong. The emergency Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) bill that was pushed through parliament yesterday (15/7/14) has been approved by a vote of 436 Yes’s and 49 No’s.

But what is DRIP?
Since most of your communications these days are digital, governments in particular have become paranoid about what may be contained in your digital communications and are determined to put laws in place allowing them to access your data, interrogate (and share) it freely with whoever they choose. DRIP is being pushed through parliament quickly and without public debate in the apparent hope that people wont realise what’s going on before it’s too late and has already become law. The government’s (official) reason for DRIP is that valuable intelligence is being lost as current digital data surveillance laws are inadequate and place national security at risk.

But hang on, haven’t we already got something like this in the UK? Yes we already have, it’s called the RIPA (Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act) and was introduced in 2000. Now almost 15 years later, it’s argued that this act is now in obsolete in many ways and is inadequate, hence the need for DRIP.