A petition to repeal strict new UK surveillance laws has received over 100,000 votes. As a result, Parliament will have to at least consider holding a debate.
After the legislation was passed, US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: “The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies.”
The petition to repeal the new surveillance laws was created by Tom Skillinger (whose occupation is unknown) and launched last week on Parliament’s website after the bill was passed.
“A bill allowing UK intelligence agencies and police unprecedented levels of power regarding the surveillance of UK citizens has recently passed and is awaiting royal assent, making it law,” wrote Skillinger.
“This means it’s not too late! This is an absolute disgrace to both privacy and freedom and needs to stop!”
The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes farther than many autocracies. https://t.co/yvmv8CoHrj
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 17, 2016
The IP Bill, pushed through Parliament by Prime Minister Theresa May, makes it legal for UK intelligence agencies to hack, read, and store any information from any citizen’s computer or phone, even if that citizen is completely innocent.
“This is sickening,” said Skillinger. “We can fix this before the UK is turned into a dystopian surveillance state.”
People working across the UK technology industry have been urging others to sign the petition. For example, Nando de Freitas, a scientist at Google DeepMind and a professor at Oxford University, wrote on Twitter: “If you care about big brother surveillance and the erosion of privacy and human dignity, please retweet this. Thanks”
Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate. However, it’s worth noting that many of them never actually get debated. For example, a petition to reverse the Employment and Support Allowance disability benefit cut got approximately 136,000 signatures but Parliament refused to debate the matter.
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