British spies will be given sweeping new powers to hack into citizens’ smartphones and computers, according to a report in The Times.
The Conservative government is expected to introduce its investigatory powers bill to Parliament in the coming weeks. The bill, if passed, will modernise the law on surveillance and provide a strong legal foundation that will allow the government to hack devices to obtain information.
British spies have carried out hacks before to obtain information, but arguably on shaky legal territory. Previously, the legality of such approaches was based on the Intelligence Services Act, passed in 1994, which talks in general terms about “property” and does not mention computers, according to The Times.
The investigatory powers bill, in contrast, will set out a clear legal framework for government surveillance in the digital age.
Independent reviewer of terrorism legislation David Anderson told The Times that hacking “presents a dizzing array of possibilities to the security and intelligence agencies.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.