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UK parliament committee: security bill does not adequately protect privacy

[JURIST] The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) [official website] of the UK Parliament released a report [text, PDF] on Monday outlining its concerns with a proposed bill that plans to expand data collection and Internet spying. The Investigatory Powers Bill [text, PDF; Guardian backgrounder] was intended to improve transparency after the extent of government spying was leaked by Edward Snowden, but the ISC believes the bill "is handicapped from the outset in terms of the extent to which it can provide a clear and comprehensive legal framework to govern the use and oversight of investigatory powers." The report specifically calls for increased universal privacy protection instead of just for "sensitive professions." The ISC also requests that "equipment interference" warrants be limited in scope and that bulk personal data warrants be eliminated.

Surveillance and data collection have been a worldwide topic of discussion, particularly after Snowden leaked top-secret [JURIST report] US National Security Agency (NSA) documents in 2013. Last month a UN rights groups criticized [JURIST report] the Investigatory Powers Bill, stating it could threaten freedom of expression and association. In December China passed a new anti-terrorism law [JURIST report] that requires technology companies to provide information to the government obtained from their products and make information systems "secure and controllable." In October the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied [JURIST report] a motion by the American Civil Liberties Union to halt the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA. The court ruled that Congress intended for the agency to continue its data collection over the transition period, and the new legislation was to take effect November 29. In June the French Parliament adopted [JURIST report] a new surveillance bill that would give French intelligence serves the authority to monitor Internet use metadata. In February the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled [JURIST report] that the UK's mass surveillance of citizens' Internet use violates human rights law. In July 2014 civil liberties groups sued [JURIST report] the UK's Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, alleging that the agency accesses data from undersea cables in violation of the rights to private life and freedom of expression.

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