Lord Paddick has warned that the Investigatory Powers Bill (Snoopers’ Charter) could have dire consequences for the LGBT community.Credit LD Flickr / CC
The Liberal Democrat peer, Brian Paddick has warned against the Government backed Snooper’s Charter, which will allow police to seize the online data and communications from anyone suspected of a crime without a court ordered warrant.
The proposed law would require internet service providers (ISP) to keep records of every website that everyone in the UK visits for 12 months. It would require ISPs to hand over those records to police without a warrant, if they suspect a crime has taken place.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Paddick said,
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“Homophobia has been encountered in the police service, as has unauthorised disclosure of confidential information. ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ is not the same as ‘If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about.
“Even if the police were to be trusted completely, massive pools — oceans — of data in the custody of private companies such as TalkTalk, one of the internet service providers that will be asked to store such data, would be sitting ducks for hackers, criminals, blackmailers and hostile foreign powers.
He went on to outline that the proposal would cost an additional £1bn in set up costs. He also suggested that security services such as M15, M16 and GCHQ, for which this law would most likely aid, did not need the Snoopers’ Charter to do their job in protecting the UK, because the data that they collect can be gained by other means.
“The RUSI panel set up by Nick Clegg when he was Deputy Prime Minister set out 10 tests for the intrusion of privacy. It is those 10 tests on which our opposition to parts of the Bill is based.
“One of the tests is that there must be transparency: how the law applies to the citizen must be evident. How many people in the UK know that 12 months of their web history—albeit the website that they are looking at rather than any further pages on that website—will be kept in case the police want to see it, as a result of this Bill’s provisions?
“The intrusion must be necessary in that there are no other practical means of achieving the objective. The security services MI5, MI6 and GCHQ say that they do not need internet connection records because they can get the information they need by other means.
“The intrusion must be proportionate to the advantages gained, not just in cost and resources but also through a judgment that the degree of intrusion is matched by the seriousness of the harm prevented. Internet service providers reckon that this will cost more than £1 billion in set-up costs alone.
“The measure may not provide the police with the website someone has visited because it is so easy to conceal it. It will not give the police any information about whether, or with whom, someone was communicating without making further inquiry of other companies such as Facebook, because almost all online communication is encrypted.
“If a serious crime is involved—the Minister listed a range of serious crimes that the Bill is intended to cover, including child sexual exploitation and terrorism—the security services, which do not need internet connection records, are duty bound to assist the police with their inquiries. We therefore need some convincing that internet connection records are both necessary and proportionate.”