Public don’t trust Snoopers’ Charter and say it’s a waste of money

Today Big Brother Watch has published new research showing just how little support the Home Office’s draft Communications Data bill has.

You can read our briefing on the bill here and why we don’t think it’s right the Government passes a law requiring data to be stored about everyone’s communications.

Witnesses have lined up to tell the specially established Joint Committee investigating the draft bill how the legislation is a risk to economic growth, innovation, cyber security, foreign policy, not to mention the privacy and civil liberties of every British citizen. From our research, conducted with YouGov, it is clear the public are not content with having their every email, social media message, website visit and online conversation’s logged and stored.

Despite rhetoric reminiscent of ID Cards and 90 day detention, just 6% of people think the Government has made a clear and compelling argument for the draft Communications Data Bill.

As many witnesses have warned, it is impossible to guarantee data security once it is collected. The public agree –  71% say they do not trust that the data will be kept secure.

Of course, the estimated £1.8bn cost (if indeed it comes in on budget) is money that could be spent on providing more, better trained police officers and ensuring they have the right equipment and skills to deal with the new technological landscape.  The public are equally aware of this concern, with 50% saying it is bad value for money, compared to just 12% who say it is good value.

With so much of our everyday lives reliant now on internet-based communications – a trend that will only accelerate as eHealthcare and Government services become standard – the questions about privacy are particularly acute. Would you want to visit the website of an an abortion provider, email Alcoholics Anonymous or Skype with business contacts about a sensitive deal if you knew the details of who you spoke to, when, for how long and how much data was passed between you was recorded?  41% of online respondents say they would be less likely to use online websites and services if the was bill passed.

The public have seen through the scaremongering rhetoric and see the snoopers’ charter it for the waste of money that it is. Instead of spending two billion pounds on another dodgy IT project, the Home Office should be making sure there are enough police officers with the right skills and equipment to investigate online crime.

While the real criminals take simple steps to hide their activity, the law would require every single’s person’s emails and messages to be monitored and the public are right to be concerned that the data won’t be kept secure.

The draft Communications Data Bill will hurt growth in the digital economy, undermine British foreign policy, create huge security risks and treats us all as suspects. The message from the public, technical experts and communications companies is clear – the only place this bill belongs is the bin.



  1. ID in the News» Blog Archive » Just 6% back email snooping law
    31st October 2012

    […] More details at the Big Brother Watch web site. […]

  2. Guest
    31st October 2012

    Don’t just sit there, Sign the petition! let’s get the number up eh?


  3. foo
    31st October 2012

    Just use a VPN. It remains to be seen if they’ve cracked https.

    • Guest
      2nd November 2012

      They don’t plan to ‘crack’ HTTPS, they plan instead to pay certificate authorities to create proxy certificates installed at each ISP gateway so they can perform undetected MITM espionage on your secure sites.

  4. Mike Palmer
    31st October 2012

    Having followed some of the proceedings apparently the security services say encryption won’t be a problem for them. Remember GCHQ have had over 70 years of breaking codes & lots of money & technology at their disposal. VPNs are likely to not be an adequate protection. They will be subject to the law like all other CSPs & if not based in this country it would be easy for money to change hands for the required information.

    • Guest
      2nd November 2012

      All our information gets cracked by the NSA, not GCHQ, actually. It’s part of the UKUSA agreement, GCHQ cracks american crypto, well that’s what’s supposed to happen. But I doubt anyone has cracked any of the stronger crypo’s out there. And I doubt ANYONE outside of the NSA has any credible backdoors to said cryptos

  5. MC
    31st October 2012

    I cant believe the government is even countenancing this legislation. I cant believe you have to commission opinion polls about it, instead of the very idea of what they propose to do being laughed out of parliament. The fact that the home office is trying it on in this way is very sinister indeed.

  6. Rob Crowston
    1st November 2012

    If GCHQ or SIS have broken RC4 or AES—not impossible, I suppose, but rather improbable—this is a huge advance in cryptography, and surely there is no way they would allow everyone else to know they have such a phenomenal advantage.
    But if they want to read my Gmail or Facebook, which is secured between my computer and US by these technologies, they will have to break that encryption, and that means—if they plan to do this on a routine basis—admitting to everyone that they know how to do it.
    I am rather sceptical that the government really knows what it’s talking about, or that its plans will catch anyone.

  7. Karen Heath
    1st November 2012

    For intrusive powers see the data matching powers in the Local Audit Bill which gives the Secretary of State, currently Eric Pickles, the power to collect more or less any personal information about you he likes, including sensitive personal information (sexuality) and to use it to draw up hit lists of people who might be thieves, no requirement for any evidence at all here except membership of a high risk group within which it is believed some fraud will exist.

  8. VPN – comparision of VPN protocols and server log deletion every 10 minutes « University of Wales, Newport: Information Security and Privacy
    4th November 2012

    […] to research published by YouGov and Big Brother Watch, 71% of people say they do not trust that their online data will be kept secure and just 6% think […]

  9. Mike Crowphone
    10th December 2012

    Let’s face it, our establishment have some form of serious mental illness. This obsession with monitoring all of us is sign of a paranoid government turning on its citizens. We get to hear the same old rhetoric about ‘Terrorists’ etc etc – Bull$shit!

  10. Strange Bedfellows |
    11th July 2014

    […] was made clear from the outset that the public didn’t agree with the government’s case for spying on us all the time […]

  11. The Home Secretary’s Proposals Will Impact on the Freedoms of the Public, Not the Terrorists | Featured News
    3rd October 2014

    […] is also worth noting that in 2012, a YouGov poll, showed that only 6% of the public thought that the Government had made a clear and compelling […]

  12. And so it begins – Snoopers’ Charter back on the table | MakeThemWorkForUsMakeThemWorkForUs
    9th May 2015

    […] opinion of the bill has been pretty clear, with 71% of people in a YouGov survey for Big Brother Watch stating that they do not trust the data collected under the new powers to be kept secure. Only 6% […]