Press Statement: Today the Debate Can Begin - The Investigatory Powers Bill
4 November 2015
"The true debate on surveillance can begin today. After years of downplaying, obscuring, and denying the Snowden revelations, the Government has finally entered the conversation. For the first time Parliament and the British public will be able to debate mass surveillance powers like bulk interception, bulk hacking, and the data-mining of bulk personal datasets.
This Bill will be one of the most important pieces of legislation for a decade to get right for our civil liberties. The UK has an opportunity to create a world class framework, but the current draft is far from this. Key, straightforward safeguards like judicial authorisation that should be uncontroversial, have instead been crippled by internal politics, leaving us all worse off. Powers for bulk interception that the Government has long undertaken in secret have finally been explicitly avowed, but the case for them remains uncritically examined and evidentially weak. We will continue to trail behind Europe and the US until these issues are remedied.
It is disingenuous for the Government to say that the Bill does not contain new powers. Existing law does not permit the Government to hack into our computers and retain records of all our internet communications. No other Government in the world has legislated for bulk hacking. No other Government has legislated to retain all our internet records. Other Governments around the world will follow the UK's lead; Britain must not send them in the wrong direction."