The government confirmed it plans to pass a new law to give intelligence agencies’ powers to track individuals’ internet use and access the content of web and phone communications in today’s Queen’s Speech.
The legislation will be called the ‘Investigatory Powers Bill’ and will “modernise the law on communications data”, the speech promised.
The government tried to introduce similar legislation in 2012, officially called the ‘Communications Data Bill’ but dubbed the ‘Snooper’s Charter’.
The proposals would have required internet and telecoms companies to log information of each individual’s internet browsing history for a year. However attempts to make the bill law were abandoned after Lib Dem opposition.
A YouGov survey at the time found just six percent of UK citizens thought the government had made a good enough case for the new powers, and 71 percent did not believe their data would be kept secure.
The official Queen’s Speech document was light on details regarding the new bill but said it would cover “all investigatory powers including communications data” and “enable the continuation of the targeting of terrorist communications and other capabilities”.
It insisted “the gap in capabilities is putting lives at risk” and “severely degrading the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies ability to combat terrorism”.
The document added the bill would “provide for appropriate oversight arrangements and safeguards” and respond to issues raised in an independent review of counter-terrorism legislation “which is due to be published shortly”.