UK to escalate emergency phone and internet data storage law

The UK Parliament is to rush through emergency legislation that will force Telecom and Internet Service Providers in the UK to retain customer data for up to 12 months in relation to customer calls, texts and internet use.

The emergency ruling follows a recent European Court of Justice decision that invalidated the law and requirement for Telecom companies and ISP's to keep the data on record for up to 24 months.

The government defended the proposal by stating that the European ruling declared existing powers invalid that is necessary so police and security services can access the data they need.

The proposed so-called safeguards are to include:

  • The creation of a new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to examine the impact of the law on privacy and civil liberties
  • A review of the controversial RIPA - Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
  • Annual government transparency reports on how these powers are used
  • The law will include a so-called sunset clause - ensuring that these powers will die in 2016 - so there will be a longer and wider debate about what replaces them.

Although all the major parties have officially supported the emergency law, Labour MP Tom Watson has condemned the plans as a "stitch up" which prevent MPs from considering the legislation properly. 

A special cabinet is being held to agree the planned laws, which will only last until 2016 after which a debate will discuss a follow up law in more depth.

Source & Image: BBC

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