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April 25, 2013 / Hannah

Nick Clegg Vetoes the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’

Big developments in the internet surveillance debate today: Nick Clegg has outright vetoed the majority of the proposals in the draft Communications Data Bill, with the exception of a database for IP matching (which is already pretty routinely used, and one of the least contentious issues under discussion). Lib Dem MPs and privacy groups have taken to the internet to celebrate (how appropriate), while the Home Office has so far maintained a dignified silence on the matter. Given all the furore there’s been about this issue, I’m surprised it hasn’t been more prominent in the news – though perhaps I’ve become so immersed in it I’m overestimating public interest. Or perhaps, as some commentators are saying, Clegg’s veto doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the bill.

I spoke to Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert today, who has been a steadfast opponent of the bill since it appeared before Parliament. He told me that it was highly unlikely that we’d see another draft of the bill as long as the coalition remained in power, though didn’t rule out the possibility of future governments resurrecting it in one form or another. Labour has remained tight lipped on this subject, so who knows what developments we’d see if there’s a Labour majority at the next election?

And what of the POSTnote? Thankfully all my research hasn’t been in vain, as the note is primarily a technical briefing, and nothing’s changed as far as technical capabilities and challenges are concerned. It is perhaps a little unfortunate that I sent it for review two days before this announcement, but at least it gives me the chance to see what the reviewers make of these significant developments!

 

Edit: Meanwhile, as my colleague just pointed out, the US seems to be doing the exact opposite.

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