UK Government Plans for Online Monitoring - Page 2
The Prime Minister has responded to the Parliamentary report saying it will be taken into account in rethinking aspects of the bill, but the Home Office have also issued a statement stating that “there can be no delay to this legislation. It is needed by law enforcement agencies now.” The deputy PM has spoken out against the bill; but there is nothing new about Clegg very publicly disagreeing with Cameron. Time will tell whether his protestations have any impact.
Although this bill is rooted in the important work of preventing crimes which are particularly prevalent online, seen in the wider contexts of how this government wants to legislate around the internet the need to tread very carefully becomes clear. Parliament’s critical report on the draft bill follows recent headlines about the Prime Minister’s moves towards compulsory porn filtering for homes with children, and the proposed monitoring of job seekers using the new Universal Jobmatch government site.
While most people would argue in favor of keeping kids away from internet porn for example, polls show that legislation is not the popular choice. Most people do not want their freedom to be limited in the law – they just want the resources to better understand the online world so they can set their own filters and safety measures.
If all government plans for law making relating to the internet came to fruition we would suddenly find ourselves among those nations most observed and controlled online by their government. The freedom to make these choices without interference or monitoring by the state is one of the cornerstones of our democracy; something which should not be given or taken lightly.
The latest on the government’s plans for redrafting the bill will be laid out in the coming months, as the Home Office works towards cementing these changes to the law during 2013.