School of Law

Dr Subhajit Basu comments on emergency surveillance legislation

11 July 2014 |

Dr Basu is quoted in both the Guardian and the Yorkshire Post discussing the government's emergency surveillance legislation.

David Cameron has called for stronger surveillance powers in an attempt to grant greater power to police and security services, and help defend against possible terrorist attacks. Cameron has "insisted the measures being rushed through Parliament were needed to maintain existing powers following a European Court of Justice ruling." This ruling "it was claimed, could lead to communications companies deleting crucial material used to tackle terrorists and serious criminals."

Dr Basu is quoted in the Guardian's blog "Cameron announcing emgergency surveillance legislation: Politics live blog." Regarding the way in which the bill extends the definition of a communications service provider (CSP) he says it is "far more intrusive" than the government is suggesting and that it will "expand the jurisdiction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act".

"As I understand this, the proposed new legislation will cover all persons and all means of electronic communication. It extends the type of communication service provider. It is not subject to geographic restriction. It remains to be seen if a CSP would include Wi-Fi cafe or an unsecured router. Because of this bill, law enforcement authorities can ask Google to decrypt the content (with a warrant - they were able to do it before in the same way), not just Google UK but 'any' company based outside the jurisdiction of UK."

The full blog is available to view online.

Dr Basu was also quoted in the Yorkshire Post's article, "Cameron calls for stronger surveillance powers". In response to the government receiving criticism for giving MP's so little time to deabte the meaure, Dr Basu states "This is not just about protecting the public, this is more like Chinese style 'blanket surveillance'. This is a hastily drafted and ill-conceived legislation that is merely reactive and not proactive.” He added "The safe guarding measures which the Government claims will ‘increase transparency and oversight’ are worth less than paper they are written on. We are increasingly under threat from the desire of public authorities to know more about us without giving proper justification the need to more about us.”

The full article is available to view online.

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