The Investigatory Powers Bill, particularly the Equipment Interference Code of Practice, may have a profound effect on tech start-ups and IT contractors in the UK. This law, which is still in the pipeline, has raised a lot of questions, and many tech companies and contractors are seeking answers to them.
The success of IT contractors and companies depends on making sure they offer privacy and security to their clients. They forge relationships based on trust, and this means keeping their customers’ sensitive information safe and secure.
Once the Investigatory Powers Bill is imposed in the UK, the government will have free access to private information of companies and individuals. IT start-ups and contractors may turn into surveillance entities that offer the government backdoor channels to access sensitive information. The worry comes from the fact that if the government can exploit backdoors to access information, so can hackers and other groups with nefarious intentions.
Some privacy activists opine that if the government passes the Investigatory Powers Bill, it will lead to mistrust between businesses and customers. Business owners and their employees will have to deny that the state is using their equipment and services for surveillance. If they acknowledge it, they risk being jailed.
The law could undermine the services provided by IT contractors and businesses, and businesses may shift base to avoid this issue. Some companies have already stated that they would move out of the UK if the Investigatory Powers Bill is passed by the government.
The bill will allow domestic law enforcement and security agencies to access any information from smartphones, computers, smart cars, and even smart homes. In fact, any device connected to the internet can be accessed using backdoors and the owner will not know about it. Many believe that the UK’s technology sector will suffer significantly if the bill comes into force, as the sector will no longer be perceived as being trustworthy.