Yesterday (10/07/2014) , the Coalition Government announced emergency surveillance laws would be brought into force within days. The laws will ‘shore up’ powers of spies, police and government agencies to access data. Following a European Court of Justice ruling in April which restricted state access to citizens’ data, the Government are concerned that foreign-based phone and internet companies would stop responding to UK warrants and delete content of individual communications.
David Cameron has, however, agreed to insert a “sunset clause” in to this controversial legislation, which means that the bill will expire in 2016. This enables more time to think through the consequences of the bill, while providing opportunities for a full scale review of intercepts laws and a new oversight board to be created, alongside planning restrictions.
The speed that this legislation will be implemented, however, is a cause for concern. Surely with legislation that intrudes so much into people’s lives, a mere week is not sufficient to enable parliamentary scrutiny, even with the sunset clause.