Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo Oppose UK’s ‘Snooper’s Charter’

11 January 2016

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo have taken the unusual step of joining forces to oppose the UK’s so called ‘Snooper’s Charter’. The companies have jointly submitted their concerns to the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Joint Committee – a committee appointed to consider the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The bill is a response to the Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding global surveillance by UK and US agencies and aims to introduce new investigatory powers to the United Kingdom. The companies believe these new powers will have an impact beyond the United Kingdom.

"We believe the best way for countries to promote the security and privacy interests of their citizens, while also respecting the sovereignty of other nations, is to ensure that surveillance is targeted, lawful, proportionate, necessary, jurisdictionally bounded, and transparent,” suggested the companies’ submission. “These principles reflect the perspective of global companies that offer borderless technologies to billions of people around the globe." The submission went on to suggest, "unilateral assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction will create conflicting legal obligations for overseas providers who are subject to legal obligations elsewhere".

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo went further, suggesting the problem of jurisdiction should be addressed and that the final draft of the Bill should state that companies will not be compelled to comply with requests for information (from warrants or otherwise) if in doing so they contravene “legal obligations in other jurisdictions”. An international framework should be established to resolve issues related to “conflicts across jurisdictions."

Let us know your thoughts – what do you think about the UK’s “Snooper’s Charter”? Add your comments below.


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