Last week, the UK government published a revised Investigatory Powers Bill, aka the Snooper's Charter. Surprisingly, it took no notice of the the serious criticisms made by no less than three Parliamentary committees; indeed, in some respects, it has made the Bill even worse.
The UK government is now trying to force the Bill through Parliament quickly, so that there is very little scrutiny. As a priority, we need to get more time allocated for the debates. To achieve that, UK citizens can write to their MPs using WriteToThem, asking them to support efforts to allow more time. Here's what I've just sent to my MP:
This is just a quick note to ask you to support efforts to allow more Parliamentary scrutiny for the Investigatory Powers Bill. Although views may differ on the contents of the Bill, surely everyone can agree that something as important and as complex as this deserve rigorous examination by MPs.
As a journalist, I have looked through the Bill and several of the Codes of Practice, so I know from first-hand experience how much is contained in the 800 pages they represent in total. With only a cursory examination by MPs, it is highly likely that there will be aspects that could cause huge problems later on – for the intelligence services and police, the public, UK computer companies and specific groups like journalists, lawyers and MPs.
I therefore urge you to join with your colleagues to ask the government to allocate more time for the Bill to be discussed. The fact that there is a sunset clause in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act is not a good reason to rush through a flawed Investigatory Powers Bill to replace it.