Nick Clegg has announced that the Snoopers Charter is dead in the water so long as the Lib Dems remain in the coalition.
Speaking live on London’s LBC 97.3 this morning, deputy PM Clegg said:
“The ‘snoopers charter’ isn’g [sic] going to happen – the idea that there would be a record kept of all your online activity. It won’t happen while Lib Dems are in Government. Of course we need to support police, they have significant powers already which I support them in using. This idea of a ‘snoopers charter’ – I think it isn’t workable or proportionate. It isn’t going to happen.”
Read Recombu Digital’s report on the Communications Data Bill
Clegg has long been a critic of the Communications Data Bill, the proposed plans to give police and security officials the powers to monitor citizen’s web activity. Under the proposals, ISPs would need to retain subscriber’s web activities for up to 12 months and make this information available to officials upon request.
The Bill has been hotly debated in Parliament. It was rejected in its draft form for being too vague in its proposals and is currently undergoing a rewrite.
Clegg’s announcement is not an official kibosh on the Bill, more of a reaffirmation of his opposition to it. The Snoopers Charter has been criticised from several corners with ex-MI5 bosses, academics and ISPs heads laying into it. Critics say it will be both expensive and unworkable. It’s expected to cost £1.8 billion to implement and those who want to avoid their online activity being monitored will know how to avoid it – only ‘incompetent criminals and terrorists’ will get caught.
An updated version if the Bill is expected to be announced in
the Queen’s Speech this May.
Update: It’s now expected that due to Nick Clegg’s veto, the Communications Data Bill won’t be presented in the upcoming Queen’s Speech.