The Communications Data Bill – we are all suspects now

Let’s bust some myths.

Right now – without any new powers – the police and security services can read your emails, tap your phone, plant hidden cameras and microphones in your house and intercept your internet use. All of which can be done without any approval of a judge.

Since 2005, there have been more than 2.7 million requests by police and other public bodies for the communications data belonging to private individuals. Of these, fewer than 10,000 requests have come from local authorities. Oh, and none of those requests were authorised by a judge. For the Home Office to rush out an announcement that local councils will lose their snooping powers is nothing short of deliberate misdirection.

Aside from the blatant spin of announcing unprecedented spying powers during the PM’s testimony to the Leveson enquiry, the Home Office is trying to hide an unprecedented level of surveillance of the entire population behind a miniscule concession of removing the ability to access Communications Data from local councils.

This policy goes against the Coalition Agreement, against Conservative pre-election policy and is fundamentally an illiberal, intrusive boondoggle that will do little to improve national security and do everything to turn us into a nation of suspects.

Before the election, the Prime Minister said that “If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.”

He was absolutely right.

Download our full briefing here.