Tag Archives: communications data

Paddick: EU court ruling on surveillance shows that Government overstepped the mark

When the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was just a Bill being rushed through Parliament with indecent haste, the pros and cons were hotly debated on this site.Today, the European Court of Justice ruled that the general and indiscriminate collection of data was illegal.

Now, this was a Bill passed by the Coalition Government with Liberal Democrat consent So shouldn’t we be feeling a bit embarrassed by this ruling? I guess we need to look at the position we were in at the time. Even if we’d told the Tories that we wouldn’t support the legislation, there would have been a majority in the House of Commons for it. In fact, Labour would have been falling over itself to make it even more authoritarian.

We also know what the Tories wanted to do with communications data – because they did it with the much more pervasive and illiberal Investigatory Powers Act passed, again with Labour support, as soon as they had a majority.

Back in 2014, we secured some important concessions from the Tories in return for our support on the DRIP Act.  Julian Huppert wrote at the time that it was what we already had but with additional safeguards as he set out the context to it all:

There is an issue we have to deal with now. The European Court of Justice threw out the European Data Retention Directive, which underpins all collection of communications data in this country. I sympathise with the reasons, but we must acknowledge that it causes real problems – we do need to have some way to keep some communications data, but under very careful control.

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Julian Huppert writes to Theresa May over Snoopers’ Charter allegation: “I would expect you to issue a public correction and an apology at the earliest opportunity”

Julian Huppert MPRemember when the Tories were, briefly, a party which stuck up for individuals’ privacy? It happened, honestly – when they were in opposition. But now, in government, home secretary Theresa May is happy to push the traditional authoritarian measures beloved by Tories and Labour alike.

And so it was, again, today that she pushed forward the Snoopers’ Charter (aka the little-loved Data Communications Bill), noting, accurately, that it would already be law if it weren’t for those pesky Lib Dems. Fair enough: it’s an honest argument. Lib Dems believe in civil liberties, Tories tend not to.

But Theresa May went well beyond honest debate, alleging that Lib Dem opposition to the state’s right to track your every internet move was a direct threat to children’s lives. Hold on a moment, points out Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Julian Huppert in a letter to Mrs May published this evening (see below), that’s just not true and you owe the party an apology.

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Lord Brian Paddick writes: The difficult balancing act between privacy and security

Data storm byt Dave HerholzAs a Liberal former police officer I am acutely aware of the difficult balancing act the government has to perform between keeping us safe and keeping our personal data safe. At the same time I see both the anxiety that those concerned with civil liberties have over the new legislation and the Government’s need to act to prevent a valuable crime detection tool slipping from our grasp.

So why the need and why the rush?

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LibLink: Norman Baker: Security and freedom in the internet age

Samsung Galaxy Note 3Norman Baker wrote an article for the party website which I thought you might find useful because it deals with some of the points raised in the questions to my mammoth post yesterday.  I must warn you, though, that there are some examples of apostrophe abuse in it, so steel yourselves.

Many, if not most, people are concerned about the rush to get this legislation through in just two days. Norman gives his explanation of why he thinks it’s necessary:

No government introduces fast track legislation lightly, but the challenge

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Baroness Sarah Ludford writes…How not to use Brussels for policy laundering

Racks line photo by Tristan SchmurrThe new Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Bill responds to the European Court of Justice annulment of the 2006 EU Data Retention Directive.

The government asserts that the DRIP Bill only confirms existing law as it is broadly the same content as the 2009 regulations implementing the EU Directive. But as that Directive has been swept away, DRIP provides a new legal basis, and this will in fact be the first time that legislation to regulate retention of phone, email and internet records has been generated …

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Opinion: We should be ashamed of these emergency surveillance powers

Fingers typing at keyboardIn April the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK’s regime of mass data retention was incompatible with the treaty on fundamental rights, particularly with article 8 that stipulates the right to private and family life, right to protection of personal data and the right to freedom of expression. This was a major victory for many Liberals, civil liberties advocates and privacy campaigners who have fought against the widespread blanket retention of innocent and law-abiding citizen’s data.

The ruling set out 10 principles that new legislation should adhere …

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Opinion: Liberal Democrats should take a stand on state surveillance powers

ServerThe Coalition Government has announced it is rushing through emergency legislation underpinning the state’s right to keep personal data held by internet and phone companies. This is in reaction to the ruling by the European Court of Justice that at an EU directive on privacy retention had over-reached its powers and amounted to an invasion of privacy.

If the European Court of Justice says existing state surveillance powers are unlawful then we should not re-introduce them with no questions asked. Let’s have the debate as to whether the state should have these powers …

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UPDATED: (Not) The Snoopers’ Charter: Where we are, how we got here, what we should look for and what should happen next

The Houses Of ParliamentI’m feeling slightly nervous this morning. As I was going to bed last night, news came through that apparently a deal had been struck to introduce emergency legislation on communications data. The Guardian has the details.

The government will announce that it is rushing through emergency legislation underpinning the state’s right to keep personal data held by internet and phone companies.

Labour is expected to accept the bill on the basis that it will simply restore what the government believed to be the law before the European Court of Justice ruled in April that an EU directive on privacy retention had over-reached its powers and amounted to an invasion of privacy.

But, as part of the deal, the opposition has won agreement that ministers will launch a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act passed in 2000. The act is seen as the source of excessive surveillance by the security services.

Hang on, what was that last sentence again? “The opposition has won agreement that Ministers will launch a review of RIPA.” Let’s just remind ourselves who was in Government when RIPA was passed? Ah yes, that authoritarian, illiberal Labour government that thought it was ok to lock people up for 90 days without charge.  Our MPs have been going on about reviewing RIPA since it was passed. It’s really important that Labour don’t get to claim that ground.

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LibLink…Paddy Ashdown: NSA surveillance: who watches the watchers?

Paddy Ashdown has been writing in the Guardian about what he considers should be the key principles underpinning any state intrusion into our communications, online or otherwise. First of all, he tackled the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument:

We have recently been told, even by those charged with overseeing the extent of state intrusion in our lives, that citizens who are not breaking the law have no cause to be concerned about intrusion into their private lives.

Wrong point. The right one is: if governments never broke the law, citizens would have no cause to be concerned. But no

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LibLink…Nick Thornsby: The snooper’s charter has reminded Nick Clegg, finally, he is a liberal

Yes, I know, it is Snoopers’ Charter Central here on Liberal Democrat Voice today. I hope you will forgive us for being relieved and delighted that Nick Clegg has made sure that the Government will not be bringing forward an illiberal, unnecessary and intrusive measure.

Over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free, our Nick Thornsby has given his take on the issue, going back through the events of the past year since the idea first emerged. At that point the Party was furious that we could even contemplate such a thing:

 Their anger was such that a hastily arranged conference call with

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