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UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill must not be rushed through Parliament

The bill has repeatedly been criticized by citizens, civil society, and parliamentary reports, for handing too much power to spy agencies without effective safeguards. 

This morning OpenMedia joined over 110 other organizations, academics and experts expressing serious concerns about the U.K's Investigatory Powers Bill, in an open letter published in The Telegraph

The bill is expected to be rushed through Parliament today, causing serious concerns among privacy advocates. 

Today's letter is below, and more background on concerns about the bill can be found in our recent post, "What's all the fuss about the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers Bill?"

SIR – Intelligence agencies and the police require strong surveillance powers. Their powers and responsibilities – as well as their limits – must be clear to be effective.

All three parliamentary reports on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill concluded that it does not meet the requirements of clarity, consistency and coherence. They call for new drafting, further safeguards, further evidence and further consultation.

Given these recommendations, the Government’s intention to pass the Investigatory Powers Bill this year is not in the nation’s interest. There is no need to be bound by this time frame. The powers, which expire this year, to give law enforcement access to data could be dealt with as a separate Bill. This would allow a comprehensive Investigatory Powers Act to follow next year after adequate consultation.

Surveillance is a global concern, and this new law, if done right, could lead the world. It will affect security, freedom and commerce. We must give the Bill the time it needs – not rush it through Parliament. We urge the Government to think again.

David Davis MP (Con)

Tim Farron MP (Lib Dem)

Claude Moraes MEP (Lab)

Joanna Cherry MP (SNP)

Sir Chris Fox
Former President, Association of Chief Police Officers

Chantal-Aimée Doerries
Chairman, Bar Council

Jonathan Smithers
President, The Law Society

Alistair Carmichael MP (Lib Dem)

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (Green)

Lord Lester of Herne Hill (Lib Dem)

Caroline Lucas MP (Green)

Baroness Ludford (Lib Dem)

Stuart C McDonald MP (SNP)

Lord Paddick (Lib Dem)

Lord Strasburger (Lib Dem)

Professor Heather Brooke
Royal United Services Institute Independent Surveillance Review

Professor Ian Walden
Royal United Services Institute Independent Surveillance Review

Dr Julian Huppert
Former member, Joint Draft Communications Data Bill Committee

Sam Lincoln
Former Chief Surveillance Inspector, Office of Surveillance Commissioners

Professor Peter Sommer
Technical Advisor, Joint Investigatory Powers Bill Committee

Paul Whitehouse
Former Chief Constable, Sussex Police

Brett Solomon
Executive Director, Access Now

Yasmine Ahmed
Rights Watch UK

Kate Allen
Director, Amnesty UK

Steve Anderson
Founder, OpenMedia

Sir Vince Cable

Drew Campbell
President, Scottish PEN

Duncan Campbell

Shami Chakrabarti
Director, Liberty

Andrea Coomber
Director, Justice

Jo Glanville
English PEN

Wendy Grossman

Gus Hosein
Privacy International

Thomas Hughes
Executive Director, Article 19

Anne Jellema
Chief Executive, Web Foundation

Jim Killock
Open Rights Group

Eric King
Don’t Spy On Us

Gavin MacFadyen
Director, Centre for Investigative Journalism

Adam McGreggor

Sashy Nathan
Director of Advocacy, 89up

Andrew Noakes
Director, Labour Campaign for Human Rights

Carly Nyst

Renate Samson
Big Brother Watch

Bob Satchell
Society of Editors

Dr Shuja Shafi
Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Andy Smith
Vice President, National Union of Journalists

Sam Smith

Hanna Thomas
Campaign Manager, Sum Of Us

Robin Tudge

Dr Paul Bernal
University of East Anglia

Nicholas Bohm

Professor Bill Bowring
Birkbeck University

Professor Fiona de Londras
University of Birmingham

Professor Keith Ewing
King’s College London

Professor Helen Fenwick
University of Durham

Dr Tom Hickman
Blackstone Chambers

Myles Jackman

Bernard Keegan
London School of Economics

Professor Douwe Korff
London Metropolitan University

Dr Liora Lazarus
University of Oxford

Professor Ian Leigh
University of Durham

Dr Karen McCullagh
University of East Anglia

Simon McKay

Victoria McEvedy
McEvedys Solicitors & Attorneys Ltd

Dr Lawrence McNamara
Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

Amber Marks
Queen Mary University of London

Eric Metcalfe
Monckton Chambers

Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas
Queen Mary University of London

Dr Cian C Murphy
King’s College London

Professor Colm Ó Cinnéide
University College London

Professor Steven J Peers
University of Essex

Dr Jaani Riordan
8 New Square

Matthew Ryder QC
Matrix Chambers

Joseph Savirimuthu
University of Liverpool

Natasha Simonsen
King’s College London

Dr Asma Vranaki
University of Oxford

John Wadham
Former Deputy Chairman, Independent Police Complaints Commission

Adam Wagner
1 Crown Office Row

Dr Eerke Boiten
University of Kent

Professor Ian Brown
University of Oxford

Professor Saleem Bhatti
University of St Andrews

Professor David W Chadwick
University of Kent

Dr Richard Clayton
University of Cambridge

Ray Corrigan
Open University

Professor Jon Cowcroft
University of Cambridge

Professor Tom Crick
Cardiff Metropolitan University

Dr George Danezis
University College London

Professor Lilian Edwards
Strathclyde University

Dr David England
Liverpool John Moores University

Professor Vic Grout
Wrexham Glyndwr University

Professor Adrian Johnstone
Royal Holloway, University of London

Erka Koivunen
Cyber Security Advisor, F-Secure

Professor Alexander Kurz
University of Leicester

Guy Levin
The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec)

Matt Martin
Uno Communications Ltd

Adam McMaster
Valcato Hosting

Professor Greg Michaelson
Heriot-Watt University

Dr Steven J Murdoch
University College London

Dr Christopher Nathan
University of Warwick

Dr Kieron O’Hara
University of Southampton

Professor Andy Phippen
Plymouth University

Dr Alison Powell
London School of Economics

Professor Girijesh Prasad
Ulster University

Professor Perdita Stevens
University of Edinburgh

Professor Mike Paterson
University of Warwick

Professor Lawrence C Paulson
University of Cambridge

Professor Peter Robinson
University of Cambridge

Professor George Roussos
Birkbeck University

Professor M Angela Sasse
University College London

Professor Martin Shepperd
Brunel University London

Professor Jawed Siddiqi
Sheffield Hallam University

Professor Harold Thimbleby
Swansea University

Peter Whitmore
Grit Digital

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