The government is to introduce an investigatory powers bill that is far more wide-ranging than expected, including an extension of the powers of the security services in response to the surveillance disclosures by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The legislation will include not only the expected snooper’s charter, enabling the tracking of everyone’s web and social media use, but also moves to strengthen the security services’ warranted powers for the bulk interception of the content of communications.
The surprise extension of the scope of the bill beyond legislation to “modernise the law” on tracking communications data was agreed within government only this week. It appears that David Cameron has decided to take advantage of his unexpected majority in the Commons to respond to Snowden’s disclosures by extending the powers of the security services.
The Home Office says the investigatory powers bill will “better equip law enforcement and intelligence agencies to meet their key operational requirements, and address the gap in these agencies’ ability to build intelligence and evidence where subjects of interest, suspects and vulnerable people have communicated online.”