Current Status of Government Surveillance Powers in the UK: Why Americans Should Care and What You Can Do About It.

Current Status of Government Surveillance Powers in the UK: Why Americans Should Care and What You Can Do About It.

Current Status in the UK

You may or may not have heard about The Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 (nicknamed the Snooper's Charter), an Act of the Parliament of the UK that passed on November 29, 2016 on its third attempt. While you can read about the specifics of the Act yourself, it essentially “introduced new powers, and restated existing ones, for UK intelligence agencies and law enforcement to carry out targeted interception of communication, bulk collection of communications data, and bulk interception of communications” for purposes of ultimately seeking to protect the public and bringing offenders to justice. 

Though the Act was passed in November of 2016, the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law, declared on December 21, 2016 that general surveillance on a mass scale is unlawful. While little is known at this stage as to how this will affect the Investigatory Powers Bill, it is certainly a blow to its proponents and fuel for campaigners who seek to change key parts of the Act. 

The bottom line is that much of the Act is controversial. Some of it, particularly in the areas of bulk powers and data retention, is likely to be the subject of ongoing legal challenge. Paul Bernal, author of How the UK Passed the Most Invasive Surveillance Law in Democratic History for The Conversation, writes: “Legal challenges to the Act at the European courts of justice and human rights are certain to happen and quite likely to succeed. The courts have a strong recent track record of finding this level of intrusion incompatible with fundamental rights. Although, in the current anti-European climate, it is equally likely that the courts will be largely ignored by the UK government.”

Why American Should Care

The Investigatory Powers Act has been described as “world-leading legislation” that will provide some sort of inspiration or justification for other countries to enact their own sprawling surveillance laws. Indeed, with the impending inauguration of President-elect Trump on January 20th, the stage is set for an overhaul of policies and new laws in regard to national security, foreign affairs and terrorism, national defense, and cybersecurity. Google search the issue and you will most likely find what I did—that the general consensus is that the FBI, NSA, and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress. 

What You Can Do About It

Take time to educate yourself and read opinions from both proponents and opponents, and stay up to date on what’s happening in the UK, around the world, and at home. Some parts of the Act, the internet connection records in particular, will be both difficult and extremely costly to implement, and may take years. In the meantime, you can bet that technologically savvy people will find ways to proactively protect their privacy. On the topic of data protection, Jack Schofield, a computer editor for The Guardian writes, “I think that VPNs are–or soon will be–normal enough not to attract undue attention. There are already plenty of reasons for using a VPN, to protect yourself in a world of hostile Wi-Fi hotspots (hence HotSpot Shield, Hide My Ass, etc.) and other online threats. That’s why many large businesses use VPNs. The fact that they may also shield you from some state snooping is just a bonus.”

Interested in knowing more? Read the informative sources for this post below. 

Living without a purpose?

Living without a purpose?

Living without a purpose is like a ship without a steering wheel. Without purpose, you're likely to get lost and drift through life.

So I ask you, what's your purpose?

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction" - JFK

You see, life is more meaningful and satisfying when you're living with a purpose.

To help you unlock yours, I created a New Year's challenge:

  • 1. Be Brutally Honest

    It's hard to be completely honest with yourself, but you need to be. Ask yourself, "what am I naturally great at?"

  • 2. Discover Your Passions

    Write out everything you're passionate about. What gets you excited? What are you curious about? Ask yourself, "what do I love doing?"

  • 3. Find the Overlap

    Purpose is where passion and skill intersect. Where do you natural gifts and your passions line up? This is the biggest clue to discovering your purpose and realizing your dreams.

Don't wait another day to start living the life you deserve.

Cheers to your success,
Doc House

Boost Your Productivity by Reading More in Less Time.


Boost your productivity by reading more in less time.

Hello Readers,

How much time do you make for serious reading? If you’re like most people you probably answered, “far too little.” With limited leisure time and much of your day now spent on the go, finding time to learn something new can be a daunting prospect.

You know that reading is one of the best things you can do for your mind, so imagine what might happen if you could get the big ideas from a new nonfiction book, every week. Getting there is easier than you think.

Read smarter with Blinkist.
Blinkist offers key insights from nonfiction books in powerful 15-minute reads. Get actionable inspiration from today’s top thinkers during your commute, waiting in line, or anywhere you are. With apps for the iPad, iPhone, and the web, your learning goes wherever you do.

Come on, aren’t you ready to be brighter? Start reading now.

Try Blinkist, free

Not convinced yet? See what others are saying about us:

"Blinkist offers a terrific service – great ideas distilled down to their very essence."

"The summaries are actually pretty great; they managed to get all the salient details in."

"Reading generates and refines new thinking and plans, and when that reading is in bite size chunks like with Blinkist, it’s easy to get new ideas."

Brad Couper | CEO, simPRO Software Group

"Blinkist is fantastic at breaking down a nonfiction work into a 10-15 minute summary. I gain 90% of the knowledge in 10% of the time."

Justin Briggs | Science & Biotechnology Exec

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Magic Words

I'm starting to get behind in all of my Blink Summaries (I read at lest one per day). Yesterday I read Magic Words by Tim David on @Blinkist

Here are my notes:

  • Magic Words motivate others and, thus make you a more effective communicator.
  • Communication is key to getting what you want out of life.
  • Words are only about 7% of our communication with each other, so therefore are extremely important if our body language and tone aren't perfect.
  • In order for words to be effective though, especially Magic Words, strong positive human connections is required.  You have to actually care about the other person.
  • "It's pretty hard to be a leader if no one is following."
  • "If you want to move mountains, then you need to be able to move people."

Magic Word #1:  YES - Doesn't everyone like the sound of yes?  No one likes rejection. Negative talk = fear, caution and rejection.


Magic Word #2:  NAMES - Makes people feel important and valued.


Magic Word #3:  BUT - Decreases preceding phrase and enhances the following.  First you give information you want them to forget, then BUT, then information you want them to remember.


Magic Word #4: BECAUSE:  Motivates people to act and think, because people want to understand.


Magic Word #5: IF - Makes people think more hypothetically and creatively.


Magic Word #6: HELP - When delegating responsibility this is the key word to use to motivate people.


Magic Word #7: THANKS - Keeps motivation levels high.


Communication is the anchor of human interaction.  If you want other to work with you, build a connection and make careful use of the magic words.

What did we do before electricity?

I was in the middle of my work out, on the elliptical, when the power shut off.  My wife yelled from her darkened bathroom, where she was trying to take her morning shower, "TURN IT BACK ON."  

Really, it's kind of funny how reliant we are on our precious electricity.  Instantly, when it went off, I thought "Damn now I'm going to be late getting started with my day." Since I'm a graduate student and work online mostly, having a computer with power is essential.  But then I realized that I still have my phone, only to realize that it was at 35% charge.  I guess I will have to read actual books if it dies and I don't get power; maybe even one of my.....textbooks!   This is unacceptable.  I must get a generator to prevent this from happening ever again!  #1stWorldProblems

New Beginnings

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.
— Zig Ziglar

Focus and energy together is quite an amazing feeling.  I am diagnosed with ADHD, amongst other things, and it has always been difficult for me to stay focused on one thing at a time.  I've been prescribed a variety of pharmaceuticals, including stimulants like adderall.  Adderall seemed to have too many side effects for me and I eventually moved to a non-stimulant called stratera.  I'm on a relatively strong dose, but there is only so much a non stimulant ADHD pill can do.  I mean I can feel the difference without it... foggy minded thoughts, etc, but I needed something more!  That being said, I didn't just want more coffee or red bulls for shaky energy, I wanted focus.  Today is day 6 of my new life, and thanks in part to Optimind, I truly do feel limitless!  My thoughts and vision for the future are starting to become more and more clear, and the amount of tasks I accomplish each day is truly amazing.  The best part is that I don't crash at the end and take days to recover.  You guys need to check it out!  They offer a free trial and are Team #DocHousePoker's main sponsor.  Get some and get your grind on!

My first Blog Post


Hello there.  Thanks for taking a minute to look at my work/ramblings.  I've been thinking a lot lately and believe that Leadership is the most effective method for solving problems.

We have to remember that ideas are a dime a dozen - most die with their creator because of a lack of leadership. I'm ready to Lead.  Our lives are our message - Let's do this!