Queen's Speech confirms Snooper's Charter return

May 28, 2015 | 11:09

Tags: #censorship #communications-data-bill #investigatory-powers-bill #law #legal #privacy #snoopers-charter #theresa-may

Companies: #government #uk-government

The UK government has offered up a few more details about its plan to reboot the failed Snooper's Charter, under the new name of the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Officially called the Communications Data Bill, the Snooper's Charter was soundly defeated after numerous complaints from privacy activists and ISPs. Had it passed, the Bill would have allowed security services and other government employees unfettered access to communications data including senders and recipients of all emails and telephone calls and a full web-browsing history of any person in the country without the need for a court order - although, the government assured its citizens at the time, the content of the messages would be under lock and key without a court order.

The cost of implementation was suggested at around £1.8 billion over its first ten years, although the government claimed this would be compensated for by up to £6.2 billion in savings via 'preventing revenue loss through tax fraud and facilitating the seizure of criminal assets' using the captured data.

When the Conservative Party were elected back into government this month, Theresa May declared that the Snooper's Charter would be back - and now the government has confirmed its plan. In its new guise, the Charter is known as the Investigatory Powers Bill and was introduced during the Queen's Speech earlier this week.

Although a new name, the powers introduced as part of the Bill are very familiar: broader data collection 'to combat terrorism and other serious crime'; making current data collection procedures already ruled illegal by the European courts officially legal in the UK; 'modernise our law in these areas [of data collection and privacy]'; and to issue new powers to both police and intelligence agencies to 'keep you and your family safe.'

'New legislation will modernise the law on communications data [the Investigatory Powers Bill],' Queen Elizabeth II explained during her speech, 'improve the law on policing and criminal justice [the Policing and Criminal Justice Bill], and ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs [Psychoactive Substance Bill.'

The scant details released by the government on these new Bills can be found on page 64 of the Queen's Speech (PDF warning).
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