It seems incredible, but a new poll reported in the Guardian suggests that nearly three-quarters of the UK population don’t understand the extent of the Conservative Party’s plan to spy on them.
For clarity, Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Bill – if it becomes an Act of Parliament – would compel telecoms companies and internet service providers to store every person’s communications data, including records of calls, texts, emails and their entire internet browsing history for a year. This data could be used by dozens of public bodies.
Critics say the government can only justify monitoring your emails, texts, phone calls and online browsing history if you are suspected of criminality or have committed a crime.
This Writer agrees with Bella Sankey, director of policy for Liberty, who is quoted as saying the legislation would create a detailed profile on each of us which could be made available to hundreds of organisations to speculatively trawl and analyse – ending online privacy, putting our personal security at risk and swamping law enforcement organisations with swathes of useless information.
Why are you letting the Tories get away with it?
Britons could be sleepwalking into a new era of state surveillance powers, judging by a new poll conducted by the civil rights organisation Liberty.
Before a Commons battle over the investigatory powers bill this week, the poll found that 92% of respondents who were aware of the proposals – described as a “snooper’s charter” by critics – disapproved of them. But 72% of respondents said that they knew nothing about it.
The two-day Commons report stage of the bill, which will increase the powers of the intelligence services, is scheduled for tomorrow and Tuesday and is the final major piece of parliamentary business before the EU referendum is held.
On Thursday the home secretary, Theresa May, announced a series of concessions in an attempt to woo Labour and Liberal Democrat critics, whose alliance with backbench Tory opponents mean the government cannot rely on its slim Commons majority. May’s fresh safeguards include the introduction of a “privacy clause” meant to ensure that the new mass-surveillance powers are not authorised in cases where other, less intrusive, means could be used.
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