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Reform Government Surveillance Flags Concerns with Amendments to the UK Investigatory Powers Act

WASHINGTON – The Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition today released a statement in advance of the United Kingdom House of Lords’ consideration of HL Bill 36, which would amend the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016. 

“The proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 include certain provisions that raise concerns around privacy and cybersecurity. 

“In particular, the proposed amendments require providers to notify the government in advance of technical product changes and give the Home Office effective veto power on necessary product updates. This could delay iterative updates necessary to keep products equipped with the latest security, privacy, and safety features. It could also restrict a company’s ability to innovate on new products or features or decommission outdated products. If passed in its current form, the amended text could impede necessary cybersecurity updates that protect the public, businesses, and government agencies from threats from criminals and foreign adversaries.

“The Bill would allow the UK Secretary of State to issue new product notification notices on companies and potentially halt product changes without transparency or adequate independent judicial review.  This means products that strengthen privacy and security for users may be stalled without oversight or public awareness.

“RGS urges further consideration and more narrow targeting of proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act.”

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