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For some, the proposed bill is ‘neither a snooper’s charter nor a plan for mass surveillance’ but a welcome update to laws that have not kept pace with technological change, which will allow the police and intelligence agencies to operate effectively in a digital age.
For others, the bill constitutes a ‘breath-taking attack on the internet security of every man, woman and child’ in the UK, and is an attempt by the state to ‘grab even more intrusive surveillance powers’ to spy on its citizens. The draft bill goes into an unprecedented level of detail on the powers available to the government, and significantly increases the extent of legal safeguards and judicial oversight. It is now for politicians and the public to decide whether the right balance has been struck.
Given the technical and legal complexities of the subject matter, the draft bill is a lengthy document, totalling 299 pages including explanatory notes. This guide provides an overview of the proposed legislation, the main powers and safeguards it contains, and topics for debate.