After Woolwich attack, 'snooper's charter' back on the agenda

The UK thought it was rid of the reviled ‘snooper’s charter’ communications bill, which would make storing data on all Britains legal, but now political figures are suggested it be resurrected in light of the axe attack in Woolwich yesterday.

Lord Carlisle, formerly the independent reviewer of terror laws, said on BBC’s Newsnight that it should offer a “pause for thought” about dropping the bill, the Metro reports.

“We must ensure that the police and the security services have for the future the tools they need which will enable them to prevent this kind of attack taking place,” Carlisle said. 

“I hope that this will give the government pause for thought about their abandonment for example of the communications data bill and possibly pause for thought about converting control orders into what are now called Tpims, with a diluted set of powers”.

Lord Reid weighed in saying that mobile data stopped a 2006 airline attack. “2,500 people would probably have been blown out of the sky over the United Kingdom,” he said.

The unpopular bill was thought to be blocked by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, and it was not mentioned in the Queen’s speech.

Nick Pickles, at Big Brother Watch, told TechWeekEurope that Lord Reid’s track record speaks for itself. Reid was, Pickles said, “one of those responsible for the knee-jerk decision to try and introduce powers for people to be detained for up to 90 days without trial by the last government, after the 7/7 attack”.

“We face down terrorists by defending our values and traditions and acting proportionately, which is a balance current policy recognises,” Pickles said.

In a blog post, Big Brother Watch offered agreement to former head of MI5 Lady Neville-Jones, who said efforts need to be made in tackling hateful rhetoric online and elsewhere.
Critics of the Snooper’s Charter would argue that there is little evidence to support it as a preventative measure, and would also paint every citizen in the UK as a potential violent criminal.