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100k+ petition: MPs must consider debating Snoopers' Charter again

Brexit means Brex... hang on, you want to store... WTF?

A petition to Parliament requesting the repeal of the Investigatory Powers Act has received the 100,000 signatures required to make Parliament “consider” debating the issue.

Although the Investigatory Powers Act doesn't actually exist at the moment — it remains a Bill of Parliament which will not become an Act until it achieves royal assent — the deep unpopularity of the surveillance legislation has already provoked over 100,000 people to sign a petition against it.

This means it meets the threshold for Parliament to "consider" debating its proposition, though in practice debates are rarely carried out resulting from such petitions, and the repeal of the Investigatory Powers Act is ultimately extremely unlikely.

Created by someone calling themselves Tom Skillinger, and titled “Repeal the new Surveillance laws (Investigatory Powers Act)” the petition described the legislation as “an absolute disgrace to both privacy and freedom”.

Skillinger wrote:

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.

This essentially entitles them to free reign [sic] of your files, whether you're a law-abiding citizen or not!

The executive director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, commented that Brexit had distracted politicians and the public from examining the bill when it was debated in the House of Commons in the weeks before the referendum.

"Now that the Bill has passed, there is renewed concern about the extent of the powers that will be given to the police and security agencies," Killock wrote. "Parliament may choose to ignore calls for a debate but this could undermine public confidence in these intrusive powers."

In the face of several legal battles, Killock recommends that the debate be used as an opportunity to amend the bill's more questionable legal provisions. ®

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