An attempt to bring back the Snoopers’ Charter under a new guise has been halted by the House of Lords.
Lords King, Blair, Carlisle and West, tacked sections from the Communications Data Bill – also known as a ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ – on to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament, in a bid to push through new legislation before the General Election in May.
The move has been stopped by fellow Lords, however, who felt that the ‘new’ proposals should be given full scrutiny, rather than being rushed in the back-door.
ISPA (Internet Service Providers’ Association) were pleased by the Lords decision to demand that new legislation be given full scrutiny. A spokesperson for ISPA, the trade organisation for the UK’s ISPs, said: “Inserting the clauses contained in the Draft Communications Data Bill into an already complex Bill that is itself proceeding through Parliament via a fast-tracked process is ill-judged.
“The Lords cannot have time to properly consider the substantial powers contained in the amendments to the Bill, and would deny the Commons the opportunity to properly consider the powers as well.”
The Snooper’s Charter, which first reared its head in 2012, would force ISPs and mobile carriers to retain records of each user’s browsing history, social media activity, emails, voice calls, internet gaming, and mobile phone messaging services for a year, without a warrant.
The contentious Bill was rejected after Deputy PM Nick Clegg withdrew his support for it and blocked its reintroduction during the current term of Parliament, but advocates have been proposing that even greater measures be introduced in the wake of terrorist attacks, most recently the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.
Even though the Counter-Terrorism Bill won’t contain elements of the contentious Snoopers’ Charter, it’s expected to be back on the menu should the Conservatives win the next election.