With the Conservative Party election majority scarcely a few hours old, Theresa May has indicated the party could revive the so-called “snoopers’ charter” to monitor electronic communications.
After holding her seat in Maidenhead with a 66% majority and the Conservative Party winning the general election, May said she would seek to reintroduce the bill, reports The Telegraph.
The draft Communications Data Bill was shelved under the previous parliament after it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition government.
Civil liberties groups were also critical of the the draft legislation, which is aimed at making it easier for authorities to spy on electronic communications.
Before it was shelved, the legislation required internet and other service providers to retain records of all communications for 12 months, including emails, web phone calls and use of social media.
But home secretary May argued that security services need extra powers to act effectively against criminals, terrorists and paedophiles who use electronic communication channels.
Read more about the draft Communications Data Bill
Political commentators have said that with May’s re-election and the re-election of her party, the controversial bill is likely to be passed if it is adopted by the new government.
That seems fairly likely, given that after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, David Cameron indicated he would re-introduce the snoopers’ charter if he won the election.
In January 2015, Cameron said: “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which … we cannot read?”
He acknowledged the “contentious” nature of this approach, but said that obtaining such information with permission from the apps would still require a warrant.
“Let me stress again, this cannot happen unless the home secretary personally signs a warrant. We have a better system for safeguarding this very intrusive power than probably any other country I can think of,” said Cameron.
Critics interpreted his comments as an indication that if the Conservative Party won the election, the UK could see a revival of the snoopers' charter.