Snooper’s Charter Resurrected…Disgraceful attempt by 4 snoop friendly Lords to sneak in the previously rejected Snooper’s Charter

Posted: 24 January, 2015 in Internet Snooping
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Read more UK Parliament Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

house of lords red logo Four members of the House of Lords have attempted to bring back from the dead the Communications Data Bill — otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter. The entirety of the bill that had previously been rejected (or at least put on hold) by Parliament — some 18 pages in all — was added as a late amendment to the Counter Terrorism and Security Billcurrently passing through the Lords. This is utterly cynical at best, and a total abuse of parliamentary procedure at worst.The Communications Data Bill is the one which required ISPs (or any telecommunications provider’) to keep a log of all activity associated with an individual or IP address. Whilst ostensibly requested for ‘security reasons (being played up again in the light of the Charlie Hebdo murders in France) — this mass retention of data is nothing less than oppressive, unwarranted, mass surveillance of the entire populace.

We know all too well from the Snowden revelations that power is abused by those who hold it — and that there is mission creep in the data retained and the uses to which it can be put. There is no reason to think that this would be any different.

Previously the bill had been rejected in scrutiny by a joint committee of the Lords and Commons for a variety of reasons – amongst them the fact that the Home Office had totally underestimated the cost involved as well as the lack of any evidence that there is any benefit to be had by requiring ISPs to hold this data. It was also requested that the Independent reviewer on Terrorism legislation, David Anderson, reviewed and commented on the bill and Parliament is still waiting for his response to the initial proposals.

Given all that, it is shocking and simply unacceptable that four unelected Lords are attempting to pass this draconian legislation, not in its own right, but as a late amendment to a current bill. It is a total abuse of parliamentary procedure and means that this legislation will not suffer the intense scrutiny that a new bill would, but instead would be passed in a backhanded fashion without review and consideration by both Houses.

The House of Lords is intended in our parliamentary system to be a revising chamber — adding a totally new bill as an amendment to an existing one completely goes against that entire principle. The very fact that they feel it is necessary to bring the bill in this underhand manner shows that they clearly don’t have any faith in the ability of the legislation to stand up to proper scrutiny.

The rushed passing of the #DRIP legislation set the worrying precedent for this kind of action by parliament when seeking to pass contentious legislation that avoids scrutiny. As a party we warned of the dangers of Parliament passing controversial and oppressive surveillance laws without appropriate time or scrutiny. Despite the calls of both ourselves and others, that bill passed into law.

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