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Leading article: Still a snoopers' charter, for all the concessions


According to the Home Secretary, the innocent have nothing to fear from plans to expand the state's powers to snoop on all digital communications. Would that that were so.

Some increased powers are, indeed, necessary. Fraudsters, paedophiles and terrorists are too often using social media and online gaming sites to communicate with each other. Law enforcement needs to keep up. And the Government has made some concessions, requiring "case-by-case" oversight by a surveillance commissioner, for example.

But grave questions remain. How far are the proposals technically feasible? Do the benefits justify the cost? Most worrying of all, however, is that police and security services will not need a warrant. Even without the actual content – with only the who, what, when and where – such access oversteps the mark. As it stands, therefore, this is still a snoopers' charter.