A few years ago (2007, actually, though it was discussed as far back as 2000), the government was given the power to not only demand the encryption keys to anything you may want to keep secret in the UK, but to utterly gag you from telling anybody that such a demand had been made.
To re-iterate: The UK government can absolutely send you to jail for refusing to decrypt your personal files, or for even telling anybody that they have demanded that you decrypt your personal files.
Your only response — other than to cave in to the jackbooted stazi — is to either do as they say, or to no longer be aware of your encryption keys.
Well, since “I’m sorry, officer, but I lost that decryption key” means that the only thing they can do — other than bamboo under your fingernails, chinese water torture, american waterboarding or a swift kicking with the cameras turned off — is to throw you in jail for obstruction of ‘justice’, the powers that be decided to up the ante.
They have just passed into law efforts to crowbar encryption backdoors into everybody’s privacy technologies.
Now of course, this would only ever be used as a last resort, obviously. It’s not like they’d ever willfully abuse such over-reaching power, and it’s not like it could ever be taken advantage of by, say, state cyberwarfare practitioners in some foreign hellhole that thinks all this malarkey about freedom of speech and expression shouldn’t count when, I don’t know, there’s somebody they want poisoned to stop said person telling everyone what an evil bunch of bastards you were. Surely not.
Oh no, there’s obviously no way these disastrous ideas could ever lead to the security that keeps our money and missives safe from being utterly destroyed by these stupid, brain-dead backdoors being taken advantage of because once you put in a backdoor it actually exists and absolutely does weaken the security of a system. Of course not.
People, if you want your privacy to remain private, then learn how to protect yourself.
Encrypt your backups, insist on SSL connections to everything. Get a VPN, use it for everything you can. Protect yourself from your government because they will not protect you from their machinations themselves.
I hate to say it, it sounds incredibly bombastic, but the government is the enemy of free speech, the enemy of freedom, the enemy of security and the enemy of ordinary people. This is a terrible law which absolutely will have dire consequences the world over. It is your duty to stand against it, to throw any spanner into the works that you can.