Social media sites are to be prevented by law from informing users about requests of their data by security services.
Sites such as Twitter and Facebook could be in breach of the law if they let their users know that their data has been accessed by the authorities. Under the new laws, bosses at the social media sites could spend up to two years in prison for letting account holders know what is happening. The proposals have been made by ministers after concerns were raised that users could be informed about such requests. It is currently Twitter company policy to let its users know if any data security requests have been made, unless it is expressly prohibited for it to do so.
The law would allow users to be told about the requests if this had no detrimental effect on the investigation; however, there could be tensions raised between the social media companies and the authorities as a result of the new law. The deputy CEO at techUK, Antony Walker, said that the new law could be in breach of international law. He believes that cooperation could be much more difficult and that the sharing of information could be slower as a result.
One section of the new bill will allow the authorities to use software that can gather personal information from different communications and internet companies at the same time. It is believed that this software will help to limit unauthorised access to data, improving data security rather than risking it.