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Snoopers’ charter killed by Lib Dems

Nick Clegg kicks out Communications Bill
Thu Apr 25 2013, 11:25
Deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg

THE CONTROVERSIAL UK snoopers' charter Communications Bill, an apparently clandestine merging of government and industry designs to access citizens' private data, has been denounced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Nick Clegg was taking part in his weekly talk show on LBC Radio when the Communications Bill came up. He was very clear about his opinion of it, saying that there is no way that it will be allowed while there are Lib Dems in the Government.

According to the show's live blog, Clegg said that his party could not support the idea of a database of personal information and online activity.

"The 'snoopers charter' isn't going to happen - the idea that there would be a record kept of all your online activity," he said.

"It won't happen while Lib Dems are in Government. Of course we need to support police, they have significant powers already which I support them in using. This idea of a 'snoopers charter' - I think it isn't workable or proportionate. It isn't going to happen."

The news was immediately welcomed by Dr Julian Huppert MP, Lib Dem spokesperson for Home Affairs and a member of the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Bill.

"Nick has done the right thing killing the Snooper's Charter. He was right to get [the] draft published so we could see how unacceptable it was," he said, adding, "It is dead."

Earlier this week privacy warriors including the Open Rights Group sent a letter to UK ISPs in which they asked them not to take part in any Communications Bill talks without first considering the privacy of their customers.

However Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock isn’t popping the corks on any bottles yet.

"Nick Clegg seems to have pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but we need to see what actually emerges," he said. "We will be extremely keen to make sure that sweeping powers to create new datasets, and to build data analysis tools, are dropped." µ


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