Skip to main content

MP warns new web measures must not signal return of snooper’s charter

UK Home Secretary Theresa May has implemented new plans to link IP addresses to individuals that MPs and civil liberties campaigners are warning shouldn’t herald the return of a snooper’s charter.

The new measures, which require ISPs to link subscriber data to specific devices, have been welcomed by MPs in all parties and civil liberties campaigners are happy just so long as it doesn’t move the country closer to the controversial charter.

“It’s a stepping stone back to the old snooper’s charter, the thing that parliament roundly threw out about a year and half ago, two years ago, because they weren’t convinced that this was necessary,” Tory MP and civil liberties campaign David Davis told the Andrew Marr Show, according to The Guardian. “Now this technical change is okay, it’s sensible, but the home secretary has said in effect that she sees it as a route back into the whole snooper’s charter and, frankly, I think she’s going to have real trouble.”

Currently individual devices don’t have their own IP addresses and are simply assigned one each time they go online thus meaning that different devices use the same address at different times. It makes it hard for the police to identify who has committed a crime, if any, and May even admitted that these measures don’t give law enforcement the level of help they need.

“This is a step but it doesn’t go all the way to ensuring that we can identify all the people we will need to… The National Crime Agency…will still not be able to identify everybody who is accessing illegal content on the internet,” May told Marr.

The snooper’s charter has taken a back seat ever since deputy prime minister Nick Clegg MP admitted that the controversial bill wouldn’t pass whilst the Liberal Democrats were part of the coalition. Under the bill, details of every website visited, email sent and social media posting made by a UK citizen would be recorded under the premise that it protects the country from terrorists, paedophiles and fraudsters.

Following this, Prime Minister David Cameron introduced emergency powers in July that forced companies to retain communications data on customers after the European Union dismissed a similar piece of legislation.

Image Credit: Flickr (Davide Simonetti)