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Home Office faces legal action unless it reveals details of "Snoopers" charter

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Home Office faces legal action unless it reveals details of "Snoopers" charter

Post  Panda on Sun 21 Apr - 12:08

Home Office faces legal action unless it reveals details of 'Snooper's
charter'



The Home Office is facing legal action unless it reveals key details of its
so-called Snooper’s Charter.









Conservative MPs have been
demanding greater clarity of the Mrs May’s plans since last summer Photo: Getty






By Robert Watts

6:30PM BST 20 Apr 2013




Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has so far declined to explain a proposed
“filtering” system that would allow officials to trawl through the public’s
private emails, text messages and other messages sent through the internet.



Conservative MPs have been demanding greater clarity of the Mrs May’s plans
since last summer. They fear that such technology represents “a tectonic shift
in the relationship between the citizen and the state”.


The Information Commissioner has now ordered the Home Office to publish
advice ministers received on the design, cost and risks of the new filtering
system by May 11.


Dominic Raab (Rex Features)



Dominic Raab, a Tory MP with an interest in human rights, requested the
advice in a Freedom of Information request last summer, but Mrs May’s department
has refused to publish the guidance citing “national security” concerns.




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Mr Raab said: “This far-reaching scheme could drain the swamp of every email,
text message and phone call made by every citizen, a tectonic shift in the
relationship between the citizen and the state.

“So, it's astonishing that Home Office bureaucrats are risking contempt of
court by trying to cover up the most basic information on how the scheme will
operate in practice.”

Under the Government’s plans telecoms and internet service providers would be
paid taxpayers’ money to log their customers’ emails, internet use and other
correspondence in a way that could be easily searched by pubic officials.

The Government initially claimed that only the police and security services
would be able to monitor emails and other correspondence under the proposed
Communications Data Bill.

However, The Daily Telegraph last week disclosed
that dozens of councils and other public sector bodies also want to harness these powers. Even the
Health and Safety Executive and the Charity Commission have applied to do so.


If the Home Office does not comply with the Information Notice issued by the
Commissioner last week it will be judged as being in “contempt of court”.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “This legislation is vital to help
catch paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals. The proposed request
filter will further protect privacy by discarding all data not directly relevant
to an investigation.

“The cross-party Joint Committee which scrutinised the Bill looked carefully
at the proposals and stated that: ‘The request filter will speed up complex
inquiries and will minimise collateral intrusion. There are important
benefits.’”



























































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