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New Bill Expands on UK's 'Snoopers Charter'

2015-05-28 03:50

The UK government has signaled that it wants to press ahead with increased powers of data collection and retention for the police and GCHQ.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, introduced during the Queen's Speech this week, aims to "modernize the law on communications data” in the name of national security and “keeping your family safe.”

Details are scant, but "the legislation covers all investigatory powers including communications data, where the government has long maintained that the gaps in capabilities are putting lives at risk," Prime Minister David Cameron said about the speech. "The legislation will enable the continuation of the targeting of terrorist communications and other capabilities."

The language is very much in line with the so-called “Snooper’s Charter,” a.k.a. Britain's Communications Data Bill, which would broaden government surveillance capabilities to include the investigation of the content of any citizen’s communications without a warrant. Tory heads, along with MI5 head Andrew Parker, have been firm in calling for the Snooper’s Charter to be back on the docket—it has up until now not had the majority support that it needs to become law. With the new Conservative-led government, that could change.

The language also dovetails with Cameron’s prior statements, including the assertion that communications that “can’t be read” by government should not be allowed.

Earlier this year, the PM made the case against the use of apps like WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage, which encrypt their communications end-to-end. He said that law enforcement should have recourse to track extremists using whatever information they can put at their disposal. He pointed out that letters and phone calls have always been available to lawful intercept in such cases, and that internet communications should be no different.

“In extremis, it has been possible to read someone’s letter, to listen to someone’s call, to mobile communications,” Cameron said back in January. “The question remains: are we going to allow a means of communications where it simply is not possible to do that? My answer to that question is: no, we must not.”

Further details of the new initiative will be released in the coming days, but for now there are broad brushstrokes to point to:

The Act will:

  • Give new powers to police and intelligence agencies to "keep you and your family safe."
  •  Fill gaps in existing surveillance and data collection laws that make it difficult to "combat terrorism and other serious crime."
  • Maintain current abilities to target online communications of terrorists, paedophiles and other serious criminals.
  • Modernize outdated laws to ensure that they are fit for the purpose.       
  • Ensure there are appropriate oversight and safeguards for how the powers are used.                   

Source: /srepoons-sku-no-sdnapxe-llib-wen/swen/moc.enizagam-ytirucesofni.www

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