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UK claims its spying bill will protect you from cyberbullies

The Investigatory Powers Bill will supposedly be used to fight harassers and trolls, not just terrorists.

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When politicians want approval for controversial security measures, they sometimes like to lean on insecurities about your kids' safety -- the "won't somebody think of the children?" trope is so common that it became a joke in The Simpsons. And the British government isn't above using that tactic to get its draft Investigatory Powers Bill past critics, apparently. Home Secretary Theresa May tells a member of Parliament that the far-reaching surveillance legislation would help tackle the "pernicious" problems of cyberbullying and trolling. She claims that the bill would make it easier for police to pinpoint both the harassers and their victims, making it harder to threaten someone anonymously. See? Your young ones will be safer!

As you might have guessed, that defense doesn't hold up that well under scrutiny. How would extensive web logs help fight harassment when it's already easy to document most incidents? Is law enforcement really going to take advantage of potential encryption backdoors to hack into a bully's phone? While the bill might go some way toward catching online meanies in the act, it still boils down to giving up privacy in the name of a little extra security.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham]

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