Westminster announces plans for ‘snooper’s charter’
THE Westminster government has announced plans to spend £1.8million on what critics have dubbed a “Snooper’s Charter”.
• The charter will allow police, security services and tax officials access to phone calls, emails and internet usage
• Cost of £180 million-a-year cheaper than annual policing bill of £14 billion
• Civil liberties campaigners criticise bill for unwanted intrusion into privacy
It will give police, security services and tax officials access to details of people’s phone calls, emails and internet usage.
The price tag was disclosed by Home Secretary Theresa May today as she published draft legislation.
The costs include equipping internet and telephone companies to retain and store data on behalf of the police, the security services, the Serious Organised and Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
The Home Office said the expected benefits from the outlay would be in the region of £5 billion to £6.2 billion. That includes from reducing tax fraud and seizing criminal assets.
Mrs May also compared the average £180 million-a-year cost of the plans with the annual policing bill of £14 billion.
“This communications data is vital for catching criminals,” she said.
“If we don’t do this, if that money isn’t spent, then we are going to catch fewer criminals.”
Amid criticism from civil liberties campaigners that the Communications Bill heralds an unwarranted intrusion into people’s privacy, she insisted the innocent had nothing to fear.
“The only people who have anything to fear from this are the criminals,” she said.
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