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Privacy Activists – Joint letter in The Times on the Communications Data Bill


Guy Herbert, General Secretary, No2ID
Gus Hosein, Executive Director, Privacy International
Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group
Nick Pickles, Director, Big Brother Watch
Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy, Liberty
Professor Peter Sommer, de Montfort University
The report of the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill is a withering verdict on the Home Office’s handling of this policy. They say the Home Office gave ‘fanciful and misleading’ evidence for ‘sweeping’ powers that go further than they ‘need or should’.
Current interception and surveillance laws are simply not built for a digital age which is seeing exponential growth in the production of personal information. More data than ever before is available.
The draft Communications Data Bill is a dangerous fudge of a solution that should not simply be redrafted and brought back to the table. A fundamental review of surveillance law is the only justifiable basis for any future legislation. This should examine how pervasive, personal and intrusive data now is and what powers over its collection, storage, and use would be proportionate and appropriate.
Securing the right balance between security and privacy requires proper consideration of technical capability, the administration of justice, and civil liberties. The Home Office should participate in this but has demonstrated it is not up to the task of leading such a review.
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