On Thursday the UK Government announced “emergency” legislation – Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (or DRIP) – to place on the statute books a new law to replace the “old” law that had been struck down in April by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government have claimed it’s necessary, but propose extending RIPA as part of the “emergency” process. All three main parties in the House of Commons have signed up to the law; we are now left to the unelected House of Lords to block this shameful legislation.

One week to pass the law: no debate, nothing. One week to pass powers that the European Convention on Human Rights have already ruled as unlawful. One week to offend our democracy.

So I contacted my MP. I hope he thinks about what he is being asked to put his name to before he blindly follows his party whip.

I’m writing to you about the “emergency” data retention legislation the Government have announced last week and indeed to rail-road through the House of Commons in the coming days.

I appreciate that I may disagree with many of your Government’s policies and beliefs, but I strongly urge you to delay the time-frame on this law. Emergency legislation must only be used when the country is facing a genuine, viable threat. It isn’t.

Indeed, the only threat the Government faces is failure to comply with a European Court of Justice ruling that existing Data Retention laws are incompatible with human rights, and facing a lawsuit as a consequence. This is not a reason to subvert the democratic process.

Anyway, the ruling is clear: blanket data retention is grossly incompatible with human rights legislation and new laws must comply with that judgement. The UK has an obligation to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights and it is shameful that this country is proposing a piece of legislation that is known to be contradictory with our fundamental freedoms as humans.

Furthermore, the new legislation goes far further than merely maintaining the 2009 Data Retention Regulations: clauses 3, 4 and 5 extends RIPA. This is not a “clarification,” it is a land-grap of my rights and an assault on my privacy.

There is a debate required to balance the rights, freedoms, privacy, security, data laws, and the purposes and needs of our police and security services. That debate cannot happen in a day and must involve everyone, through a proper process of debates and scrutiny in which all voices are heard.

Please do not allow this legislation to be rushed through. I’m sure you didn’t enter politics to stand by while the democratic process is abused by the Government of the day. This law undermines due process and is an affront to civil liberties. It has no place in a modern, free country.

Thank you very much.

Fingers crossed. Although I don’t hold out much hope.

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One Comment

  1. I admire your passion. :) One of the surest ways to earn my derision is when someone bleats that they don’t need to vote or otherwise involve themselves in politics, because it “doesn’t affect them.” There are other, personal reasons not to vote, I suppose (perhaps if all candidates seem equally disagreeable) but I find that sort of naive apathy intolerable.
    & yet, I’m lazy, & can rarely summon the neccesary passion & optimism, so good job :)
    (Disclaimer: I am narcoleptic & cannot keep my damn eyes open, so if anything fails to make sense or is offensive or unkind it is because I am sleep-surfing the web again.)

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