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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Clegg to reaffirm opposition to the "snopper's charter"

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is to reaffirm the Liberal Democrat's opposition to a so-called snoopers' charter. Following last week's terror attacks in Paris, the Prime Minister, David Cameron has said the intelligence services need new powers to read the contents of communications. In a speech, later Nick Clegg will warn that new measures to track email and web traffic would "undermine" UK freedoms.

In 2012 the Liberal Democrats blocked Conservative proposals for the communications data bill which was dubbed, by critics as, the snoopers' charter. At the time Nick Clegg said "The Liberal Democrats cannot permit what would be a significant reduction in personal privacy, based on proposals where the workability remains in question. There is a careful balance to be struck between security and individual liberty – a classic dilemma for all governments. But this Bill does not get that balance right. As a result the legislation, which has been dubbed a ‘snoopers’ charter’, cannot go ahead."

However in a speech yesterday David Cameron raised the possibility of the plans being revived if he is still Prime Minister following this years general election, he also proposed measures to break into the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists.

During a speech in London Nick Clegg is expected to say: "The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then, in the next, advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens. Let me be really clear, we have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm - but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing."

"The snoopers' charter is not targeted. It's not proportionate. It's not harmless. It would be a new and dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual." Nick Clegg is expected to add.