The controversial new Investigatory Powers Bill, which would grant more surveillance power to the government, will be debated in Parliament after receiving more than 100,000 signatures.
Dubbed the “Snoopers’ Charter”, the surveillance legislation would see internet providers store the web histories of its customers for 12 months. These records must be made available to police upon request, with the government saying it will help to combat terrorism; however, many are concerned at the intrusion on privacy.
Currently the petition has more than 123,000 signatures, asking for the government to repeal the Bill, which it describes as “an absolute disgrace to both privacy and freedom and needs to stop.”
The petition, started by Tom Skillinger, says: “With this bill, they will be able to hack, read and store any information from any citizen’s computer or phone, without even the requirement of proof that the citizen is up to no good.”
The Bill was created by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary, and the House of Lords approved it earlier this month. The Bill is expected to become an Act by the end of the year, provided it receives royal assent from the Queen.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, (ORG) which opposes the Bill, said: “The IP Bill was debated and passed while the public, media and politicians were preoccupied by Brexit.
“Now that the Bill has passed, there is renewed concern about the extent of the powers that will be given to the police and security agencies. In particular, people appear to be worried about new powers that mean our web browsing activity can be collected by Internet Service Providers and viewed by the police and a whole range of government departments.”