The draft Investigatory Powers Bill or "snooper's charter", proposed by Home Secretary Theresa May, is "vaguely worded, rushed and does too little to protect law-abiding citizens", a parliamentary committee has warned. The MPs' panel said that the bill fails to protect citizens' privacy.
The committee also suggested that the bill be rewritten with more focus on bulk private data collection and communications data. Moreover, UK's powerful Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) claimed that the draft legislation lacked clarity and required more time and preparation to ensure that a comprehensive legal framework is achieved.
ISC chair Dominic Grieve said, "Taken as a whole, the draft Bill fails to deliver the clarity that is so badly needed in this area. The issues under consideration are undoubtedly complex, however it has been evident that even those working on the legislation have not always been clear as to what the provisions are intended to achieve. We had expected to find universal privacy protections applied consistently throughout, or at least an overarching statement at the forefront of the legislation. Instead, the draft Bill adopts a rather piecemeal approach, which lacks clarity and undermines the importance of the safeguards associated with these powers."
The ISC's criticism of the IP bill has come ahead of another parliament committee's verdict on its validity and effectiveness. A joint committee of MPs and Lords is slated to deliver a comprehensive report on the Investigatory Powers Bill draft on 11 February.
Further, the MPs' report recommended that an additional section be introduced to the draft, which is dedicated to privacy. It also said that it was "surprising" that privacy was not highlighted nor covered more prominently in the draft.
The snooper's charter has been receiving flack in the recent past. UK's science and technology parliament committee had found the draft to be less than satisfactory, recommending that it provide more clarity on technology companies not to undermine tech-industry development within the country.