Investigatory Powers Bill ‘attack on civil liberties’

Angus Robertson - Bill is an attack on civil liberties
Angus Robertson – Bill is an attack on civil liberties

MORAY RESIDENTS REMAIN concerned that proposals contained in the Investigatory Powers Bill are the basis of a fundamental attack on civil liberties.

That is the view of Moray’s MP Angus Robertson, who says that he is still receiving a substantial amount of correspondence on the issue showing concern of the UK Government plans.

Mr Robertson said that the SNP at Westminster is continuing to take the lead on improving the Bill as it progresses through Parliament, with his party tabling amendments to make the legislation more effective, proportionate and respectful of civil liberties.

Amendments include a bid to ensure surveillance is targeted, based on reasonable suspicion and permitted only after a warrant has been issued by a judge rather than a politician.

The amendments also seek to expand the category of information which will be accessible only by warrant, and to ensure that such warrants are not issued without proper justification.

Mr Robertson said: “Constituents in Moray in significant numbers have been contacting me, rightly concerned about the erosion of civil liberties that would occur if this bill were to be passed in its current form.

“The SNP is taking the lead in ensuring the Investigatory Powers Bill is not rushed through without careful consideration – we recognise that the security services and the police require appropriate powers to fight terrorism and serious crime. We also recognise that these powers need to be updated to reflect current technologies, however such powers must always be proportionate, and in accordance with law.

“In particular, they must not be an excuse to attack fundamental rights to privacy and security of data.

“The SNP’s amendments are the sort of principled amendments which are required to make the Bill compliant with international human rights law, to bring the Bill into line with the practice in other western democracies, and to meet the concerns of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy.

“We are committed to tackling the exceptionally intrusive provisions of the Bill in order to ensure security policy is targeted, proportionate and compatible with Human Rights.

“The SNP will continue to work with other MPs to devise a bill that protects us from harm but also protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of all law abiding citizens.”