Snoopers' charter: bill to allow spying fails after repeated tries, though Cameron has already pledged to revive it

Failure puts an end to the most recent attempt to revive the spying law — but David Cameron has already suggested that he will bring it back

An attempt by peers to resurrect the failed “snoopers’ charter” has been dropped once again, withdrawing the amendment after sustained criticism.

Lords King, Blair, Carlile and West wanted to force into law measures that were rejected by the Liberal Democrats when the charter was first voted on in 2012. They would have allowed UK security services unprecedented snooping powers, like requiring internet companies to hand over data.

The peers attempted to make the amendment as the more general counter-terrorism bill was progressing through parliament.

A group of Lords attempted to rush through the plan after the Charlie Hebdo attack, but were forced to back off the plan. But they tried again over the weekend to resurrect it once more.

But last night the group were forced to drop the plans once again. King removed the amendments from consideration without calling for a vote.

The Lords had argued that the amendments were necessary to stop terrorist activity, but were widely mocked for not being clear on exactly what tools were being used and how.

“I am not a tweeter, but we’ve got Facebook, we’ve got Twitter and somebody tried to explain to me what WhatsApp is, somebody else tried to explain to me Snapchat,” Lord King, one of the peers involved, told parliament. “My lords, I don’t know about them, but what is absolutely clear is that the terrorists and jihadists do.”

But the plan to spy on or ban such services might not have been killed after the failure of the resurrection.

David Cameron has pledged to revive similar plans to the snoopers’ charter if he is re-elected, in plans that seem to suggest that he would ban services like WhatsApp and iMessage.

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