Under a proposed new law, UK security services are to be given the power to hack and take control of your laptop, phone and tablets.
MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will be granted a range of electronic surveillance capabilities under the Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, allowing them to legally spy on peoples phones and computers.
The Mail Online reports:
Privacy campaigners have warned against increasing surveillance powers, but the Government and senior intelligence services say they are more important than ever because of electronic crime and the threat from Islamist extremists.
The new laws would give security agencies the power to hack devices, with permission from the Home Secretary, rather than simply intercepting them, which is becoming increasingly difficult.
Online criminals and terrorist can encrypt their communications, which means that when they are intercepted, they may be impossible to interpret.
However, hacking a device allows the hacker to access everything in it, usually via a security flaw in the software.
The difference is that is would allow the hacker to take control of the device, using parts of it such as the speaker or microphone, and accessing data from the source before it is encrypted.
Peter Sommer, a digital evidence expert, told The Times: ‘Increasingly, (intelligence agents) can’t read communications sent over the internet because of encryption, so their ability to get information from interception is diminishing.
‘The best way around this is to get inside someone’s computer.’
This comes after whistleblower Edward Snowden recently claimed that the UK intelligence agency GCHQ had the power to hack into and take control of smartphones without their owners knowledge.