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Snooper's Charter returns following Conservative re-election

Under the coalition, The Conservatives faced resistance from the Lib Dems when it came to spying on every single UK resident, but the re-election has removed the Lib Dems and it looks like that sidelined program will return.

The Draft Communications Data Bill - nicknamed the Snooper's Charter - has been Home Secretary Theresa May’s brainchild for over five years. It would allow the government to retain Internet service provider and mobile phone communications for 12 months on every single citizen, regardless of criminal history.

Similar to the US National Security Agency’s own surveillance program set up in secret, the Snooper's Charter would allow the UK government to hold information on all citizens.

The information would include email, text and voice communications, web browsing, internet gaming and social media usage. This could be used against UK citizens in court, alongside allowing the Government Communications Headquarters to build an online profile for each citizen from legal and illegal information.

Already, GCHQ has spying programs implanted on the internet, working together with the ‘Five Eyes’ of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US to create a database of unwarranted and illegal personal information.

This would legalise the GCHQ’s actions and would also lead to even more surveillance in the future. The Conservatives have shown a disregard for UK citizens personal rights online by working with the NSA on surveillance technologies, alongside plans to remove the Human Rights Act in the next tenure in government.

The Lib Dems kept Theresa May away from pushing the law, even though the House of Lords tried twice to revive the Snooper's Charter in secret. We expect the bill will be met with much less resistance, although some Tory backbenchers have publically stated the bill should not make it into law.

The issue is most of the Labour Party seems to be on board with the Snooper's Charter, with the Greens and Lib Dems the main parties against (opens in new tab)more surveillance.

Given the poor performance of the Lib Dems in the recent general election (opens in new tab) and the Greens gaining less votes than the SNP and UKIP, it cannot do much to win support in Parliament for the removal of the bill.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.