Investigatory Powers Bill- an overview

Parliament is debating a bill which will seek to monitor communications between citizens

But what exactly will it do and how will it affect the general public?

After much criticism of the current law, citing it is out of date, the new bill has been introduced to update this. The bill has one main aim, to completely rethink and overhaul the laws governing how the state, police and spies can gather private communications or other forms of data.

There has been differences of opinion with some arguing it is needed for safety purposes whereas others believe the powers go too far and they are too intrusive and legalise a level of surveillance that is not allowed in other countries in Europe and the USA.

The current powers include the ability to listen to phone calls, intercept emails and hack devices. The authorities need to show they have a justifiable case to do so. However these powers are said to be behind the times with the law being drafted 15 years ago.

The new powers that have been proposed will include a requirement for communication companies to keep a detailed record of people’s online activity for a year. A warrant signed by the Home Secretary will be needed to allow an agency to look at any specific movements.

The bill also creates a new criminal offence to safeguard against abuses of unlawfully accessing internet data.

More detail including a look into the jargon used can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34713435

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