I sincerely hope the UK Government plans to actually debate the “Repeal the new Surveillance laws (Investigatory Powers Act)” petition in Parliament now that it has reached 100,000 signatories, including myself.
Of course, the commitment they made is carefully worded such that attracting that number of signatures merely means it will be “considered” for debate.
Recent events in the United States and elsewhere demonstrate that maintaining the right balance of power between the state and the individual is more important than ever. I would not normally get political here, but the circumstances are anything but normal — the frightening jolt the western world seems to be making towards extreme right-wing authoritarianism means that maintaining that balance is nothing short of absolutely critical.
The list of organisations who can access internet connection records is enormously wide and includes bodies as mundane as the Food Standards Agency! This is way beyond something that could be argued as essential to maintaining the UK’s operational intelligence capabilities for preventing domestic acts of mass violence.
This law would be deeply, deeply troubling at any time, but is even more so as the US election shows us the threat of home-grown extremism that rises through established political bodies and gains the powers of high office.
Personally, I urge everyone to support efforts to mount legal challenges to this legislation.
Please consider supporting organisations like Open Rights Group.