In an affront to our freedom, the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), expected to be introduced by Theresa May in parliament this week, will give unprecedented powers to security forces. That these changes are buried in a quagmire of almost 900 pages of documents at a time many are distracted by the EU question also suggests a blatant disregard for the democratic processes of parliament.
The draconian ‘snoopers’ charter’ grants police forces the right to look into everybody’s entire internet history and empowers them, along with the Home office, tax officers and some other public authorities, to hack into computers.
The bill itself is 258 pages (PDF) long. Accompanying the draft are 628 pages of overarching documents including codes of practice. That Theresa May seems to be trying to squeeze the bill through parliament whilst minds are focused primarily on the EU question suggests an opportunistic move.
According to Tory MP David Davis, there is “no doubt” that the government is trying to rush the bill, which will be published this week and debated line-by-line on 14 March, through parliament.
Critics have said that the manner in which government is rushing the bill through shows a “complete disregard for the process of parliamentary scrutiny”, and fails to provide time for MPs who will be voting for these powers to properly understand them. Human rights organisation Liberty, which has warned that the “minor Botox” adjustments made to the bill are not enough, also commented on the lack of adequate scrutiny:
Government must return to the drawing board and give this vital, complex task appropriate time. Anything else would show dangerous contempt for parliament, democracy and our country’s security.
Big Brother Watch meanwhile warns that the government may be missing a “golden opportunity” to impose security laws fit for the digital age and that:
In a connected world, where everyone is a digital citizen, these powers will impact us all.
Three separate parliamentary reports into the bill have found it “does not meet the requirements of clarity, consistency and coherence.” As such, a cross-party open letter has been published calling on the government to allow “adequate consultation” on the issue.
The attempt to rush the IPB through parliament once again highlights the Tories contempt for parliamentary procedure.
-Support Liberty UK.
-Support Big Brother Watch.
-Support The Canary.
Featured image via UK Home Office/Wikimedia Commons
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?