UK MPS are currently debating the biggest threat to your personal liberty since the last time they debated that sort of thing: the Investigatory Powers Bill.
The bill is bad news, and you don't have to take our word for it. A number of pressure groups have voiced their opposition, and several independent studies have expressed concerns.
The Open Rights Group (ORG) has rolled into London with a public toilet demonstrating how a lack of privacy is dangerous. The idea is that we value our privacy on the loo and should value it on the internet.
"ORG has taken to the streets of London with a unique public toilet to give the public a taste of how dehumanising a lack of privacy can be. With the click of a button, the walls of the toilet turn transparent, exposing those inside," the group said in a statement.
"The film aims to highlight how the bill will give the police and security services extensive surveillance powers that could invade everyone's privacy."
A video shows off the loo in action. Fortunately we are spared the worst of the privacy invasions, but we will not be if the bill passes as it stands, and the ORG is going to stand in the way of that passage.
"While many are aware of the bill and what it means for personal freedom, we felt that there may be some members of the public that aren't overly concerned with their online privacy," said Jim Killock, executive director of the ORG.
"We hoped that by exposing people where they are most vulnerable we could encourage a debate about how much we value privacy and how comfortable we are with others accessing personal information without our consent. Hopefully the video can do this."
Privacy campaign group Liberty claimed that UK citizens are pretty aware of how bad the bill could be. A Liberty poll found that 90 per cent of Brits find privacy-eroding things like the Investigatory Powers Bill unacceptable. However, 72 per cent hadn't heard of the proposed legislation. We call these non-readers.
Killock can't even believe that things have got this far. "We at the ORG still find it remarkable that this bill is heading to the Commons. We would encourage anyone with an interest in personal freedom to read up on the issues and ask how comfortable they feel with every aspect of their life being accessible in a few clicks," he said.
"Now is the time to raise your voice and make sure that we don't sleepwalk into a surveillance state. The stakes really are that high." µ
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