Clegg urges government to rethink ‘snooping Bill’

By Sooraj Shah
11 Dec 2012 View Comments

But the report warns that the draft pays insufficient attention to the duty to respect the right to privacy, even if officials and ministers claim that the powers that the bill would give them would not be exercised in full, the fact that the power is on the statute book means it is available to be misused and abused in the future, the MPs said.

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"It is hardly surprising that a proposal for powers of this width has caused public anxiety," the report states.

Home Secretary Theresa May, an advocate of the Bill, had claimed that without the Bill, there was a "serious and growing risk that crimes enabled by email and the internet will go undetected and unpunished".

The aim of the Bill according to the government, is to catch terrorists, cyber criminals and paedophiles but last month MPs fired back at May, stating that the Bill represents a huge invasion of privacy that could be exploited by criminals. While anti-Bill campaigners have warned that the government may gather masses of data about innocent people and then seek to detect evidence of criminal behaviour within it.

Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner has stated that he was unsure how the ICO would get the sufficient resources and power to comply with the Bill.

"My concern is around the adequacy of the proposed safeguards that the ICO would be responsible for regulating. Ensuring the security of retained personal information and its destruction after 12 months would require increased powers and resources, and as it stands today we've not been given clear advice on where that will come from," he said.

But he acknowledged that as part of the Committee's report, it states that the government should undertake detailed discussions with the Information Commissioner to determine what additional safeguards, powers and resources would be needed.

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