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Jul 15th, 2014

Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill: Emergency law

By Belinda Turffrey

Today, MPs will vote through a new law forcing internet and phone companies to keep records of all your calls, emails and texts. The government says it’s to counter terrorism – but privacy campaigners say it’s a huge power grab under false pretences.

Either way, it’s made a mockery of the democratic process. Usually, a new law takes months. But today, MPs will vote this law through just two working days after it was first announced. Many MPs probably won’t have had the time to read it.

The Tory, Lib Dem and Labour leaders are all backing it – it’d take a miracle to stop MPs passing it. But we could make sure that it gets properly reviewed and debated within six months. MPs will vote on an amendment which has cross party support from MPs including Tom Watson, David Davis and Caroline Lucas which would make sure it’s reviewed in December 2014. [2] But we’ll only get a review if enough MPs vote for one.

Can you take a few minutes to email your MP now? There are hints and tips on the page. You could ask them to vote for a December review, or tell them what you think about the fact that the law has been rushed through in two days. The more constituents they hear from, the more likely MPs are to want to show they’re listening – and compromise by voting for a December review. Just click here to send an email:

The full name of the law is the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband held secret meetings last week to write it. And now the government intends to pass it through the House of Commons today and the House of Lords tomorrow. It’ll be law before the end of the week.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s pretty jaw-dropping. The government says it’s just replacing EU law which was thrown out by European courts in April, but privacy campaigners say this law has “new and unprecedented powers” to keep tabs on all of us.

We have a democratic process for a reason, and 38 Degrees members have come together over and over again to defend it. We stood together against the gagging law, we beat back the Snoopers’ Charter, and every month we make sure that MPs are hearing from thousands of us about the things that are important.

This new law is being forced through tomorrow. Your MP’s probably had little time to read it – and yet they’re supposed to speak for you in Parliament. Click here to tell your MP what you’d like them to do tomorrow:

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