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Huppert fights new laws giving government broader powers to snoop

June 14, 2012 10:53 AM

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is fighting proposed new laws which could give the government broad powers to snoop on its citizens.

He has been elected by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg to sit on the Parliamentary committee which will oversee the controversial Communications Data Bill.

Julian is adamant that, in its current format the legislation gives the government too much power to monitor every line of internet data.

"It gives the Secretary of State far too broad a power," he said. "It allows data collection exercises that are perfectly reasonable - but would also allow pervasive black boxes that would monitor every online information flow; an idea which is clearly unacceptable. This absolutely must be changed.

"Current controls over surveillance are awful. From a first glance, some powers suggested in this draft are worse, and need correcting. But for the first time we will have a proper debate about the legitimate scope of state interference, how technology affects our society, and how we can legislate to strike the right balance between freedom and surveillance.

"Over the following months the government will be forced to justify any new powers it wants.

"My position is absolutely clear. I oppose giving Ministers or anyone else broad disproportionate powers to snoop on the public. We must hugely tighten the controls on how communications data that has been collected can be accessed. Both of these concerns must be met in the final version of this Bill. Only then would we support it. Only then will we have a Bill which is fit for Parliament."