THE HOUSE OF LORDS is taking a cautious stance on the Data Retention Investigatory Powers (DRIP) bill and has admitted "concern" over the fast-tracking of it.
Home secretary Theresa May greased the DRIP legislation, and apparently hoped to watch it slip through Parliament like an oily pig.
Things went well at the House of Commons, and we are given to understand that the proposals have cross-party support. We have not found much support elsewhere.
The House of Lords, the dustiest chamber of UK government, responded to the proposals with a firm "whoah there", saying that it has concerns about the fast-track nature of the slow to happen knee-jerk response.
"The bill has been introduced in response to a judgment of the European Court of Justice on data retention," it said.
"The committee accepts the need urgently to legislate in this area but points out that the government have had since early April to respond to the judgment but that between then and 10 July they did not indicate that fast-track legislation might be necessary."
Now that the response is revealed the Lords would like to see some amendments to the bill. In its response it said that the proposals are murky, and asked for more clarity.
"The report says that, while the government have said the bill does not enhance data retention powers, the bill gives broad powers to the secretary of state. The committee says it is not clear what would 'prevent the secretary of state [from enhancing] data retention powers'."
A collection of Lords have put forward a number of amendments to the bill, they seem to be mostly concerned with phrasing.
One of the four amendments is "Page 6, line 31, after "kingdom" insert "in accordance with the laws of the country where the person is".
Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, who is also known as Martha Lane Fox, invoked the spirit of Tim Berners-Lee in a statement to the Lords and was much more damning of the bill and its aims.
"My Lords, when Tim Berners-Lee famously typed his message 'this is for everyone' at the start of the 2012 Olympic ceremony, I do not think he could have imagined just how prescient that statement would be and why," she said.
"I am an optimist, but I must confess that I am uncharacteristically depressed. The web I want seems to be disappearing. Addressing the ECJ ruling and planning this bill far earlier could have been an extraordinary opportunity to instigate a wide-ranging and sophisticated review about the future, a review which carefully considered the implications of data collection, the role of surveillance and the trade-off between privacy and security.
"Instead, we are being catapulted into legislation that builds on the badly understood and arguably dysfunctional RIPA legislation." µ
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