New data bill contains 'sweeping surveillance powers that affect everyone in UK'

The Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) is being sped through parliament - but campaigners say it contains new surveillance powers

Privacy campaigners and lawyers have warned that emergency data legislation currently being ‘railroaded’ through parliament gives the government “sweeping” new surveillance powers, despite assurances from David Cameron and other party leaders that the Bill only maintains current practices.

The Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (DRIP) was unveiled by Cameron last week as an ‘emergency’ measure to replace surveillance laws declared illegal by the European Court of Justice in April.

The Bill requires that internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile operators store customer metadata for twelve months at a time for the benefit of law-enforcement, with the Government stressing that this information is needed in “95 per cent” of criminal cases.

However, critics of the Bill say that it also contains clauses that expand the UK’s ability to directly intercept phone calls and digital communications (eg emails, texts) with changes to a set of laws known as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).

Of the five clauses in the Bill, three refer to RIPA: the first limits intercept powers so that the UK cannot tap calls for the benefit of the country’s “economic well-being” but the second makes it clear that RIPA covers non-UK companies while the third expands the definition of “telecommunication services” to the broad “companies who provide internet-based services”.

Privacy campaigners and lawyers have said that collectively these amendments broaden RIPA’s power, although the Government maintains that the new clauses only put current practice on a sound legal footing.

The bill comes in a month when GCHQ faces legal challenges over its surveillance practices.

Read more: UK Government to defend mass surveillance practices against legal challenge

David Allen Green, the head of media practice at Preiskel & Co and better-known as law blogger Jack of Kent, told The Independent: “They’re trying to make out this is clarificatory – but if you read through the Bill these are substantial amendments. They are creating things legally that weren’t there before.”

Graham Smith, a private practice lawyer specializing in internet law, notes that the new laws could allow the interception and retention of data from “any remote storage ”; this includes consumer services like iCloud and Google Drive used to store documents and photos.

“There is obvious potential for this to cover a very broad spectrum of activities,” wrote Smith in a blog post. “It is exactly the type of provision that deserves the fullest Parliamentary scrutiny.”

Isabella Sankey, policy director at civil liberty group Liberty, told MPs in a briefing note circulated this weekend: "This fast-track legislation contains sweeping surveillance powers that will affect every man, woman and child in the UK."

The manner in which the new legislation is being ‘railroaded’ through parliament has also been criticized with former shadow Home Secretary David Davis describing the ‘emergency’ as “theatrical” only while Labour MP Tom Watson called the Bill's introduction a “stitch-up”.

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden even compared the legislation to the ‘Protect America Act of 2007’ introduced by former-President George W. Bush. This legislation also cited the dangers posed by terrorists and criminals as its reason for expanded surveillance powers. Referring to the UK bill Snowden said: "The NSA could have written this draft."

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

    £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

    £45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week