According to experts and campaigners for privacy, the proposed “electronic interference” code would sanction pervasive hacking powers without judicial or parliamentary scrutiny.
According to Privacy International Caroline Wilson Palow, the existence of the code in the Government consultation documents on “equipment interference” and “interception of communications in February validates the hacking done by UK intelligence services.
According to Slater and Gordon Cyber Crime and Data Security Solicitor David Cook, the code is “extremely worrying” because of its parliamentary or judicial scrutiny.
Some parts of the code give the security services great powers to self-authorise, meaning they could sift through the private files of someone without having to serve a warrant.
Cook added: “This would mean that, unlike an operation to put a bug in a particular house, they would not necessarily need a specific warrant to do the same thing by hacking a computer.”
“This gradual erosion of our civil liberties is occurring at a time of vast improvements in the technological capabilities of our security services to intrude into every facet of our digital lives [and] should be resisted at all costs,” he continued. “Once this genie is out of the lamp it will be very difficult to get it back in.”