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UK “snooper’s charter” to be redrafted

By Padraig Reidy / 11 December 2012


The British government’s Communications Data Bill is to be redrafted after the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he would block the current bill.

The bill, which would give government agencies unprecedented access to email, web and phone traffic, has been described as a “snooper’s charter” by free speech and privacy groups.

Earlier today, a joint committee of MPs and Lords published a damning report describing the draft bill as “too sweeping”, and criticising the vague definitions of the powers given to the Home Secretary by the proposed law.

Writing for the Independent, MP Julian Huppert, a member of the Joint Committee on the Communications Data Bill, said: “After this report, there is absolutely no way that this Bill – with its incredibly wide powers and few safeguards – can possibly proceed.The Home Office has completely failed to show that it is needed, proportionate, possible or affordable. They must start from scratch.”

Index on Censorship has been heavily critical of the Communications Data Bill. In evidence submitted to the committee in August of this year, Index described the powers granted to the Home Secretary by the bill as “unacceptable”, and warned, “The decisions the UK Parliament takes on this bill willimpact on human rights both in the UK and beyond, not least in authoritarian states.”


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About Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.


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