A proposed bill in the UK would have Facebook employees facing up to two years of jail time if they tip off users about police or government surveillance. The new language was part of a “disclosure provision” in the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill currently going through Parliament.
In a move that’s sure to infuriate tech companies, the proposed law does allow some wiggle room for companies to notify their users when they’re being observed—as long as law enforcement OKs it first.
“While in many cases it would be detrimental to the investigation if a communication service provider notified the subject of an investigation that a request for their data had been made, there are cases where this would not be the case,” the note in the bill read. “The legislation provides for communication service providers to notify the customer in such circumstances where the public authority is content for them to do so.”
This law is sure to be fought tooth and nail by Facebook, Twitter, Google and other tech giants who are desperate to appear more transparent to their users, not less. Facebook in particular has struggled with the public perception that it gives up user data, so they will most definitely protest this restrictive legislation.