MPs have been given only two weeks to read 1,200 pages of documents which disclose new powers to require technology companies to install secret surveillance capabilities in software, computer equipment or networks.
The new law, if passed unchanged, would mean that no British IT product providing communications – including games, apps and services, as well as supposedly secure software systems – could truthfully and legally be marketed as “secure”.
Among documents which had not previously been provided to MPs was an 83-page Equipment interference code of practice, specifying how recipients of notices and warrants are required to respond. The government can require malware to be created, installed or delivered to carry out interception, acquisition or interference with computer equipment and communications or to acquire data.
An estimated 60 British computer networks and data companies have also been deliberately hacked and infected with malicious computer software, according to documents provided by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.