Government to review powers to intercept electronic communications

State powers to intercept electronic communications will be scrutinised in an urgent review of counter-terrorism legislation, the government said, fulfilling a pre-election promise to reverse the erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government.

State powers to intercept electronic communications will be scrutinised in an urgent review of counter-terrorism legislation, the government said, fulfilling a pre-election promise to reverse the erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government.

Appointing Lord Ken Macdonald QC to provide independent oversight of the review, home secretary Theresa May said, "I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent."

May said the review would assess the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities, and access to communications data generally.

"The use of (intercepted communications) as evidence, the Interception Modernisation Programme, and Prevent are being looked at separately to this review," she said.

Other areas to be covered are:

  • the use of control orders
  • stop and search powers in section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography
  • the detention of terrorist suspects before charge
  • extending the use of deportations with assurances to remove foreign nationals from the UK who pose a threat to national security
  • measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred or violence

May will report to parliament on the findings in autumn.

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