Fallout from Snowden revelations: “Snooper’s charter” probably won’t become law in the UK

The chances of Theresa May reintroducing her “snooper’s charter” communications data bill are practically zero in the wake of the Guardian’s disclosures on the scale of internet surveillance, leading Tory and Labour civil liberties campaigners have said…

…The disclosure of the mass harvesting of personal communications, including internet data, by the American National Security Agency and Britain’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, had shown that the existing UK regulatory framework was completely ineffective.

David Davis said in particular that GCHQ’s Tempora operation, which harvests global phone and internet traffic by tapping into the transatlantic fibre-optic cables, had “put up a big red flag” indicating it was time to think again from scratch about the legal oversight arrangements.

He said it was necessary to look at ways of rewriting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which sets out the legal oversight arrangements for the interception and surveillance of communications.

But the former shadow home secretary and staunch Eurosceptic also praised the efforts of Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for justice, who wrote to the foreign secretary, William Hague, on Wednesday giving him until the end of the week to answer the charge that the fundamental rights of citizens across Europe were being flouted…

Tom Watson said he shared Davis’s analysis of the poor prospects for the reintroduction of May’s communications data bill, which would require internet and phone companies to store for up to 12 months data tracking everyone’s use of email, phone and internet.

Both were speaking at a packed Commons meeting organised by the Open Rights Group on the disclosures on Prism, the US surveillance programme, and GCHQ’s Tempora programme, based on documents from the American whistleblower, Edward Snowden.

The foreign secretary earlier this week defended Britain’s intelligence-sharing relationship with the US, saying it operated within the rule of law and arguing that terrorists, criminals and foreign intelligence agencies plotted against it in secret…

Certainly useful to hear that Parliamentary politicians in the UK are upset and angry over invasions of privacy by the United States and their own government. Upset enough to put a halt to immediate plans to bring communications up to the level of “legal” snooping common in the United States.

Interesting to learn there has already been a meeting of Commons to discuss remedies to the disclosures of Prism and the government’s Tempora program. Helluva comparison to our Congress which only demonstrates hurt feelings over being left out of the loop – and couldn’t care less about the privacy of our own citizens.

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