Back in December Julian Huppert reported that the Joint Committee that was looking at the Bill had unanimously agreed that it would have to be significantly amended to be acceptable. In an article in the Independent he wrote: “We have gone through the Home Office proposals – and the results are damning. The Bill as it is simply cannot proceed. ”
In April, Nick Clegg vetoed the Bill, and Julian Huppert greeted the announcement with much relief, having campaigned against it consistently since its inception. However, Jonathan Calder warned us to be vigilant.
The Bill was notable by its absence from the Queen’s Speech in May.
Then came the appalling murder in Woolwich, and it was not long before this was being presented by some as a reason for reviving the Snoopers Charter. Following that Daniel O’Malley argued on Lib Dem Voice that “We cannot give up the freedoms that our nation has held so dear and fought so hard for in the name of expedience.”
Over the last few days we have read in the Guardian the extraordinary news of the extent to which US National Security Agency had been extracting information from major online providers such as Google and Facebook about US and UK citizens, with, it claims, the explicit co-operation of GCHQ.
In spite of the public anger at those revelations, yesterday the Home Office confirmed that it still wanted to bring in enhanced Internet surveillance. Unnamed minsters are quoted as saying: “It does not change our position. The government is continuing to look at ways of addressing this issue with communication service providers. This may involve legislation.”
The fight is not over yet.
* Mary Reid is the Tuesday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.