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Tag Archive | "liberty"

ECJ Date Retention Ruling Goes Against UK

The Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) overhauls laws governing how the state gathers and retains private communications or other forms of data to combat crime. Broadband and mobile phone providers are compelled to hold a year’s worth of communications data. Known by critics as the snoopers’ charter, there is serious concern about the number of agencies that will get access to the communications data and other privacy issues. Read the full story

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Investigatory Powers Act

Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This was the very solid base for coalition home secretary Theresa May’s snooper’s charter bill four years ago which would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. Downing Street initially brushed aside libertarian objections but then plans were put on hold after being condemned by MPs of all parties. Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the contentious measures would only be published in draft form and would be subject to widespread consultation, concessions that could delay the proposals for at least a year. Read the full story

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Investigatory Powers Bill

The snoopers charter, known as the Investigatory Powers Bill , is with us again. While tightening up privacy safeguards in proposed new spying laws, the government is seeking to give the police more power to see internet browsing records.

Published on Tuesday, the Bill will force service providers to store browsing records for 12 months. It will also give legal backing to bulk collection of internet traffic. It expands the purposes for which police can obtain internet connection records. It says they can be acquired for a “specific investigation” provided it is “necessary and proportionate.” Ministers say the new powers are needed to fight terrorism, but internet firms have questioned their practicality, and civil liberties campaigners say it clears the way for mass surveillance,

In her written statement to Parliament, Theresa May said that the government is not seeking sweeping new powers and had taken on board the criticisms of three parliamentary committees. She said: “The privacy safeguards are stronger and clearer. The Bill incorporates additional protections for journalists, removing a key exemption for the security and intelligence agencies when seeking to identify journalists’ sources. And it incorporates statutory protections for lawyers.”

May said the latest version reflected the majority of the 122 recommendations made by MPs and peers, including strengthening safeguards, enhancing privacy protections and bolstering oversight arrangements.

She also said that the revised measure would strengthen the office and powers of the investigatory powers commissioner, giving the lord chief justice a role in his or her appointment. “This is vital legislation and we are determined to get it right…Terrorists and criminals are operating online and we need to ensure the police and security services can keep pace with the modern world and continue to protect the British public from the many serious threats we face.”

May said the Bill is not asking companies to weaken their security by undermining encryption. New safeguards for interception and equipment interference warrants are introduced, reducing the period of time within which urgent warrants must be reviewed by a Judicial Commissioner from five to three days.

She said: “The Bill as amended strengthens the office and powers of the new Investigatory Powers Commissioner, giving the Lord Chief Justice a role in his or her appointment and allowing for the Commissioner to inform people who have suffered as a result of the inappropriate use of powers.

“The ‘double-lock’ authorisation model endorsed by the Joint Committee – involving judges in the approval of warrants for the most intrusive powers – remains on the face of the Bill and has been strengthened further in respect of urgent warrants.”

Ministers want the new bill to become law by the end of the year, citing the urgent demands of national security and crime prevention.

The ‘Guardian’ reports that Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “Less than three weeks ago MPs advised 123 changes to the majorly flawed draft bill. The powers were too broad, safeguards too few and crucial investigatory powers entirely missing. Government must return to the drawing board and give this vital, complex task appropriate time.” Lord Strasburger, a Liberal Democrat member of the scrutiny committee on the draft bill, said nothing had changed. “The Home Office just doesn’t do privacy. It does security and ever more intrusive powers they claim will make us safer, but not privacy.”

The ‘Guardian’ editorial says the bill “is, in its way, a triumph for [Edward] Snowden: it involves the British security state coming clean about the extraordinary existing facility to snoop that he exposed, spelling the powers out in statute for the first time… It will become possible to build up exhaustive logbooks on the lives of others. Bluntly described powers to switch on cameras and microphones on people’s own phones starkly reveal how the tide of technology is washing away all need for the old art of installing bugs…”

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Investigatory Powers Bill

Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV, and surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

Coalition home secretary Teresa May’s snooper’s charter bill, introduced three years ago, would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police would have had powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. Read the full story

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Human Rights Act repeal in the long grass

The Conservative party’s manifesto promise to scrap the Human Rights Act will not be carried forward immediately into legislation. In a move widely seen as a climb-down in the face of concern among lawyers and members of the House of Lords, the Queen’s speech announced that the government will “bring forward proposals for a British bill of rights” This is likely to include a further consultation. Read the full story

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Challenge to DRIP

Drip is the acronym of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act which was rushed through Parliament with unseemly haste in three days last week in response to a European Court of Justice ruling in April that challenged the rights of phone and other communications providers to keep records of information on people’s calls and emails.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the accelerated passage of the bill through Parliament was necessary because of the April ruling. They warned this would deny police and security services access to vital data about phone and email communications. “Lives could be lost”, said Home Secretary Theresa May. Read the full story

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Return of the snooper’s charter

Emergency powers to ensure police and security services can continue to access phone and internet records are being rushed through Parliament.

Prime Minister David Cameron has secured the backing of all three main parties for the highly unusual move. The brief, six clause, Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (Drip) will be pushed through Parliament in seven days, a process that normally takes several months. Read the full story

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How effective are walk-outs?

Last Friday more than 1,000 barristers and solicitors protested outside parliament at cuts to criminal legal aid in their first full-day walkout. They are not calling it a strike, but that is how it will be seen.

At the rally opposite the House of Commons, Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, the former Conservative MP, said: “I’m ashamed of this government. I have been a Conservative for 60 years of my life. Never has there been a demonstration like this. It’s atrocious that this government has forced us to come and behave like this.” Read the full story

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Reaction to legal aid green paper – Part 2

The number of people who will lose out on access to civil legal advice services if the legal aid cuts are implemented was quoted as 502,000 in the Ministry of Justice’s impact assessment on scope changes published in support of the green paper. A significant number in all conscience, but the Legal Action Group believe that Read the full story

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Counter terrorism review

Home Secretary Theresa May went to the House of Commons on Wednesday to announce the results of the counter terrorism review which was one of the main commitments of the coalition government. The headline announcement was the proposal to scrap the very controversial control order regime. Read the full story

Posted in Criminal Justice, Law UpdatesComments (0)

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