Open Rights Group has responded to Theresa May’s post election hints that she will continue with Conservative plans for Internet clampdowns.
Executive Director Jim Killock said:
“To push on with these extreme proposals for Internet clampdowns would appear to be a distraction from the current political situation and from effective measures against terror.
“The Government already has extensive surveillance powers. Conservative proposals for automated censorship of the Internet would see decisions about what British citizens can see online being placed in the hands of computer algorithms, with judgments ultimately made by private companies rather than courts. Home Office plans to force companies to weaken the security of their communications products could put all of us at a greater risk of crime.
“Both of these proposals could result in terrorists and extremists switching to platforms and services that are more difficult for our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor.
“Given that the priority for all MPs is how the UK will negotiate Brexit, it will be especially hard to give the time and thought necessary to scrutinise these proposals.
“It could be tempting to push ahead in order to restore some of Theresa May’s image as a tough leader. This should be resisted. With such a fragile majority, greater consensus will be needed to pass new laws.
“We hope that this will mean our parliamentarians will reject reactionary policy-making and look for long-term, effective solutions that directly address the complex causes of terrorism."
Press release: Jeremy Corbyn comment on the PM’s visit to Saudi Arabia
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, said:
“The Prime Minister should put human rights and international law at the centre of her talks with Saudi Arabia’s government this week.
“Numerous human rights organisations, including the UNHRC and Amnesty International, have documented the dictatorial Saudi monarchy’s shocking human rights record.
“The Saudi-led coalition bombing in Yemen, backed by the British government, has left thousands dead, 21 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and three million refugees uprooted from their homes.
“Yemen urgently needs a ceasefire, a political settlement, and food aid, not more bombing. British-made weapons are being used in a war which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
“Britain must halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia immediately, throw its weight behind a ceasefire resolution at the United Nations and back a full and genuinely independent investigation of the evidence of war crimes in Yemen.
“As it stands, the British-Saudi relationship is damaging to the people of Saudi Arabia, Britain and the wider Middle East, and helping to export insecurity to the rest of the world.
“Unless the Prime Minister challenges the Saudi regime over its abuses this week, it will be clear she is ready to sacrifice human rights and security on the altar of the arms trade.”
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary