Thanks to a petition with over 120,000 signatures, the Investigatory Powers Bill – Britain’s new surveillance plans – could soon be repealed.
So far, the bill had been approved by the House of Commons and House of Lords, moving rather stealthily past the public eye as we all focussed on the Autumn Statement. It was set to be approved by the Queen in what is called the Royal Assent at the beginning of 2017.
There is something standing in the way, though, and that is a 300-page document filled with 120,046 signatures at the time of writing.
An online petition, started by Tom Skillinger, quickly passed the 100,000-signature threshold required for another debate in the House of Commons. This brings it back a few steps, hopefully giving MPs the chance to act on behalf of their people.
“With this bill, they will be able to hack, read and store any information from any citizen's computer or phone, without even the requirement of proof that the citizen is up to no good.” Tom writes in the Petition description.
“This essentially entitles them to free reign of your files, whether you're a law-abiding citizen or not!
This is sickening. It has only made it this far due to it being snuck past the population in relative secrecy. It isn't too late. We can fix this before the UK is turned into a dystopian surveillance state.”
A response is coming soon, as the Government response happens in four days and a debate date will be set in just two.
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I get it. We’re all scared in the wake of the tragedy in Westminster last Wednesday. Khalid Masood’s actions in committing this atrocity are truly reprehensible. But digital communication is not at fault, and adding an Orwellian level of surveillance is not the answer.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.