Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Tories plan new Snooper’s Charter, here’s what we can do

Cory Doctorow writes at Boing Boing:

Ed from the Open Rights Group writes, "The Conservatives have won an absolute majority in the General Election. The Home Secretary Theresa May has already said that she will use this majority to pass a newSnoopers' Charter."

You know the charter I mean, the one that forces our ISPs and telcos to spy on us by retaining huge amounts of personal information about all of us and handing it over to government and law enforcement without a warrant.  We’ve defeated the Snooper’s Charter repeatedly in Parliament, but the Tories are certain to try to force it through if they possibly can; Theresa May has already announced it.  Last time, it was blocked by the Lib Dems, but the Tories’ new majority means that it’s likely to succeed when they try again.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that the Conservatives' majority is tiny.Their leadership will have to work incredibly hard to secure a majority for new laws. Every MP's vote will count and this presents a huge opportunity for campaigns like ORG's to influence what happens.

I’ve had little success in interesting my MP, Phil Wilson (Labour) in this issue. He toes his party line all the way, which is perhaps to be expected from the holder of one of the safest Labour seats in the country.  But even so, I suspect that part of the issue is that he doesn’t fully understand the implications of the Snooper’s Charter.  Perhaps the same can be said for the other candidates for Wilson’s job at the last election.  I contacted them a few weeks ago and had a very disappointing response.

So I think we need to educate our representative.  Groups like ORG are going to be invaluable at doing this in the next few months.  Do consider joining.  Do consider looking here to see if there’s a local ORG group you can join or think about starting your own.  There’s a North-East Local ORG Group, which I’ve recently become involved with.  There’s a lot of strong feeling in that group about the Snooper’s Charter and a lot of expertise and enthusiasm that we intend to bring to bear on this problem.

The Tories plan several other terrifying things according to their manifesto:

  • Introduce "new communications data legislation" - also known as the Snoopers' Charter,
  • Scrap the Human Rights Act
  • Require internet service providers to block sites
  • Enable employers to check whether an individual is an extremist,
  • Requir[e] age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material" - which is very difficult to implement

And David Cameron has said that every message we send should be readable by the state - even when we've encrypted it.

Yeah, let’s not do any of  those things.

If you’re in the North East and would like to join our Local ORG Group, get in touch.  If you’re a member of a different Local ORG Group and think it would be useful to coordinate some activity, also get in touch.

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