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UK Snoopers' Charter raises its ugly head again

Politicians cosy up to total surveillance
Fri Jun 14 2013, 15:59

AUTHORITARIAN POLITICIANS have gathered to pen a letter to the Times that says we must put up with blanket internet surveillance technology if we are to be saved from "terrorism".

In a letter published by the Times, politicians including former home secretaries such as Labour's Jack Straw, David Blunkett, Alan Johnson and the Conservative Lord Baker, argue for Orwellian communications surveillance and universal data collection to counter terrorism.

Together they say that a Communications Bill is desperately needed, and that it is necessary to build up a picture from sources like Google, Facebook and Twitter of any terrorist incident.

"Comms data can be vital in exploiting leads to prevent future serious crimes... at the moment there is no guarantee that the data records needed by investigators to piece together networks and suspects will have been stored by internet providers," they write, adding that they support the Communications Bill that has been around in one form or another for the last five years.

"We find it odd that many critics of the Bill prefer to champion the rights of corporations over democratically accountable law enforcement agencies," they add. "Good counter terrorism is about learning from previous plots and exploiting intelligence. Communications data is a vital tool in that armoury."

They sneer that unfortunately "niceties" adopted by the present Coalition Government are blocking the of passage the Communications Bill and putting the country at risk of destruction.

The timing of this statement is not accidental. We are still rocked back on our heels about the PRISM programme and its foot on the throat approach to consumer data.

UK Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye said that earlier rumours of the death of the so-called Snoopers' Charter had been exaggerated. He appealed to the politicians, adding that the Communications Bill should be rejected for very real reasons.

"After the Queen's speech I warned about the danger of a Snoopers' Charter reboot. Now politicians from Labour and the Conservatives want to do exactly that, and are calling for the return of the Communications Data Bill," he said

"They need to remember that the Snoopers' Charter was not rejected because of 'niceties' as they put it. It was rejected because the parliament committee scrutinising it found that the claims for its benefits were 'fanciful and misleading'... It was not just a question of fixing a few glitches, the whole approach was fundamentally wrong.

"We should be protecting the public from unwarranted intrusion." µ


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