Dear Alok Sharma
Thanks for the response to my letter from James Brokenshire of the home office. This appears to be a form letter reiterating the government position, rather that a response to any of my issues. It was also good to chat briefly to you when you called at my house a couple of weeks ago.
I get the impression you don’t fully grasp the importance of this. The internet at the moment is the preferred tool of communication for many in some circumstances, but it is rapidly becoming the only way of communication for many things. For the UK to prosper it is essential that individuals and businesses can operate here in a secure manner.
I noted that your response was a physical letter, and so not subject to electronic surveillance, or retention. Why should there be such a vast difference in the government and police powers depending on the medium of communication?
I and most people would agree that the Police need to have access to electronic data and the RIPA should be the basis of that access. That a warrant is required, and it has to be specific, relevant, and proportionate.
What we object to is the “Collect it all” attitude of turning the internet into the total surveillance tool. Firstly because it is amoral and repugnant in a free society, and secondly because it does not work in catching criminals.
The DRIP act extends the current powers in crucial areas, for the government to assert otherwise is misinforming the public. (see https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2014/the-drip-myth-list )
What should we do about this? The best laws are those based on clear principals, not on specific technologies. Like the Human Rights act. So when a court such as the CJEU rules that a domestic law breaches human rights the government should take note and adjust the domestic laws. Not just pass another “emergency” law to reinstate the powers that the court have ruled on.I hope that you will consider this carefully when the DRIP act comes up for renewal, and pledge in your election manifesto not to support this law.
Kind RegardsStuart Ward