Experts at United Nations Urge Review of UK Surveillance Bill
United Nations human rights experts have called for a comprehensive review of the United Kingdom’s draft Investigatory Powers bill, warning that if adopted in its present form it could threaten the rights to freedoms of expression and association both inside and outside the country. The bill is intended to govern how UK surveillance agencies, police and other authorities can monitor suspects.
Serious concerns have been raised over several provisions of the bill pertaining to broad definitions and disproportionate procedures to authorize surveillance including mass surveillance, and data retention without adequate independent oversight and transparency. “The lack of transparency could prevent individuals from ever knowing they are subject to such surveillance,” the experts noted in a six-page submission* to the Joint Parliamentary Committee. “This will ultimately stifle fundamental freedoms and exert a deterrent effect on the legitimate exercise of these rights and the work of civil society and human rights defenders.” Furthermore, possibilities of human rights violations were also floated as to ensure its compliance with international human rights law and standards.