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Home Office must consult on plans for discredited Snoopers’ Charter – NUJ

2 April 2013

The UK government is planning to go ahead with its Communications Data Bill, otherwise known as the Snoopers' Charter, despite a damning cross-party Parliamentary committee's scrutiny of the proposed legislation.

The draft bill would allow the government to order internet companies such Facebook, BT, Virgin Media and Sky to collect and store the communications data relating to all of the traffic they deal with. This would include details of internet usage, including websites visited, internet searches, private social media messages and even the online video games played.

Law enforcement agencies, HMRC and the security services will be able to trawl that data and cross reference it with other data sources through a communications data search engine, revealing social connections and confidential communication between journalists and their sources.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"This draft bill is a major assault on civil liberties for all citizens and a threat to press freedom. For journalists it would be a direct attack on the way they work and would severely undermine their ability to protect their sources, materials and whistle-blowers."

One of the Joint Committee's main criticisms was that the Home Office had not consulted widely enough on their plans before publishing the draft Bill.  But rather than conducting the consultation, the Home Office has held piecemeal meetings with industry and civil society groups. The NUJ is joining other civil liberty groups to put a stop to this bill.

You can contact the Home Office to lobby for greater consultation on the Open Rights Group (ORG) website.

For more information on the bill, read the ORG blog and their briefing paper on the background to the bill.

Tags: , Communications Data Bill, Open Rights Group, Snoopers' Charter, parliament uk, facebook, bt, virgin media, bskyb, government uk, new media, protection of sources, whistleblowers, civil liberties