This month our newsletter is focusing on the Investigatory Powers Bill, the new piece of surveillance legislation. We explain its content, context, and the campaign ahead.
We'd planned to send an email about the Investigatory Powers Bill earlier this week. After the horrific attacks on Friday, it just didn't feel right. We didn't really want to campaign or comment on surveillance in the UK.
But over the last couple of days, we've heard politicians call for the IPB to be fast tracked through Parliament and we’ve been asked what we think of this. We understand that people are rightly concerned about surveillance powers in the UK, but this is not the time to rush through legislation.
The Paris attacks were not just brutal murders but an assault on our freedom and liberty. We cannot let terrorists undermine our fundamental values through a knee-jerk reaction to these terrible events.
Interestingly, we appear to be in agreement with the Home Secretary, Theresa May who said this week:
'The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is a significant measure that we expect to stand the test of time. We do not want future Governments to have to change investigatory powers legislation constantly, so it is important that we get it right. It is therefore important that the Bill receives proper scrutiny and that it has support across the House, given the nature of it.'
So we're sending this email because it's important that we get on and scrutinise this Bill and speak out against that the parts that undermine our fundamental rights. As ever, we are going to need your help to do this.
What's the status of the IPB?
Although some politicians, like Lord Carlisle, called for the Investigatory Powers Bill to be fast-tracked this week, it is currently scheduled to still follow the proper process.
This means that there is an opportunity for the a full discussion about surveillance, the one we've been calling for these past years.
What happens next is that a committee of MPs and Lords will scrutinise the Bill. ORG will provide evidence to that Committee, and we’ll help you do so too.
When that stage is over, they will report in the new year with suggestions for changes to the Bill.
We then expect MPs to vote on the final version in spring. This is why it is important to start talking to them now; so they are aware of the concerns that their constituents have about the Bill, and to get them to pay attention to this huge piece of surveillance law.
Take action today!
The people scrutinising the law are not working in a bubble. They listen to colleagues and their leadership. They listen to the voices around them and how the public is thinking.
You can help influence them by asking your MP to talk to members of those committees. We all need to start talking to MPs now to get them thinking about the IPB.
You can tell your MP why they should be concerned about the Bill here:
This is only the start of the campaign. We've already been talking to politicians and the media about the IPB. We met with Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary and other Labour politicians this week to discuss our concerns.
In the coming months, we'll be working together with you to rip out the dangerous parts of this Bill. We can do this!
What's in the Bill?
The Investigatory Powers Bill is a new law on surveillance that was presented to parliament in November 2015. Unlike the Communications Data Bill, the IPB covers both the police and security services’ powers.
Key issues in the Bill
-It clarifies the powers of security agencies to break into our laptops and mobile phones, including powers for mass hacking. The Bill also forces internet companies to help in hacking their customers.
-It forces Internet Service Providers to collect and keep a record of all the websites that their customers visit.
-It does not limit the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, but instead puts those abilities into law.
This includes powers of bulk collection and analysis of data collected by tapping Internet cables, ie. 'Tempora'.
We’ll be publishing a full briefing on the Bill to help you talk to your MP.
Our Birthday party
ORG has worked hard over the last 10 years to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected (You can see a whole timeline of our successes here).
Now we’re celebrating that history with a small party in London, and we’d love it if you could make it to celebrate with us! RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/ORG-London/events/226537708/
Date: November 27th
Time: 7.00 - 10.00pm
Location: Newspeak House, 133-135 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG, London
Cost: £5 Hear from an excellent speaker and enjoy some birthday cake at the brand new Newspeak House in Shoreditch for our 10th anniversary!