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Theresa May and Nick Clegg clash over ‘snooper’ bill

The UK and other countries around the world have been threatened by overreaching digital communication legislation many times in the past few years  and we aren't done yet. The latest one is known as the “snooper” bill and it's being championed by home secretary Theresa May – fortunately, coalition partner Nick Clegg and many other MPs are opposing it.

Unfortunately this doesn't look to have knocked Mrs May's confidence, since she has made it quite clear that she was determined to get the ballet on the books before the next election. If enacted it would give much stronger powers for the government and organisations to view the digital communications of average citizens. Critical MPs have said it amounts to setting up a “federated database of all UK citizen's communications data.”

Some of the biggest concerns around the scheme include the potential cost of several billion pounds over a ten year period, as well as the inadequate safeguards for the data being collected. These have led plenty of MPs to voice their disapproval of the bill, one suggesting that it was already dead in the water.

Not to be defeated however, May talked about the bill in the Sun newspaper this morning, saying that if her own MPs wouldn't support the bill, she'd look to Labour to provide the backing she needed to get it pushed through.

“Countries across the world are taking action now to help them track paedophiles and terrorists who abuse new technology to plot their horrific crimes. We must not get left behind,” she said.

Theresa May
The Sun. Terrorists. Paedophiles. I think I see what she's doing here.

Despite her confidence though that someone would back her up, it doesn't look that way. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper took this as an opportunity to drum up browny points for herself, by suggesting that she would never back May's bill and that ultimately Mrs May was making a “complete mess of a very important issue.”

However, it isn't going to be completely scrapped. Even those staunchly against the bill seem to be suggesting that it just needs tweaking and rewording, so that better safeguards can be put in place.

KitGuru Says: Whenever I hear someone using the words terrorism or paedophiles, I immediately think sensationalism, as these are two very emotion heavy words. They make people scared and defensive, putting them in a position where more legislation seems like the right idea. We shouldn't be scared into new laws. Especially not when it comes to privacy and free speech.

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One comment

  1. I don’t know what to make of Theresa May. She willingly allowed Richard O’Dwyer to be extradited but defended Gary McKinnon in such an outspoken manner. But now she wants to catalogue our communication and justifies it by using words such as “terrorism” and “paedophile” which are both drastically over-appreciated as threats. Perhaps she should make up her mind as to whether she stands for common sense or scare-mongering.