Theresa May and her Conservative minions hope to save the UK from terrorists by insisting that ISPs keep detailed records of their customer’s online doings.
The Investigatory Powers Bill was approved by the House of Lords on 19 November and is due to become law before the end of 2016.
Now, several virtual private network (VPN) operators have seized on its introduction to promote their offerings.
For those who don’t know, VPNs digitally scramble a user’s internet traffic and send it to one of their own servers before passing it on to a site or app in a form they can make sense of. ISPs would only have a log to the VPN.
The VPNs can be based outside the UK in countries with no data retention laws. Even if servers are confiscated, there would be nothing on them. To make matters worse for Mrs May, the UK government would find it difficult to prevent the use of such workarounds.
While the legislation specifically mentions connection service providers and not just ISPs, and the assumption is that VPNs based in the UK must give up their logs under this law. However that does not apply to foreign companies who can just ignore it.
Even if the UK government made VPN’s illegal, it could not stop those services being available. Lots of businesses use VPNs to provide staff with remote access to their email and other work-related files would also make it difficult to restrict the technology’s use.