The government has got its wish to rush through the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Bill it unveiled last week, which it claims is vital to national security, despite ongoing privacy concerns.
MPs voted 436 to 49 to pass new legislation that will force communications providers to store data in just one day, rather than the usual timeframe of months.
MPs vote 436 to 49 to approve motion on timetabling of Data Retention & Investigatory Powers Bill. Second reading of the Bill begins #DRIP
— House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) July 15, 2014
The legislation is being pushed through after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in April that the blanket data-retention policy of the EU Data Retention Directive was unlawful on human rights grounds.
However, home secretary Theresa May said this power, and therefore the bill, was vital for national security as she championed its progress. “We do face the very real and serious prospect that the police, law enforcement agency and the security and intelligence agencies will lose vital capabilities to their job,” she said.
May was adamant that the bill was not “new” legislation as such, but merely a return to the “status quo” that existed before the ECJ ruling, despite the bill containing several clear amendments to existing legislation.
One small victory for opponents of the bill is that the government has accepted a six-month review for the new bill, rather than reviewing it at the end of 2015 as was first suggested.
Furthermore, given that the bill was rushed through on the same day the government unveiled a major cabinet reshuffle that has dominated the news agenda, many have accused the government of deliberately burying the debate.
The bill will go to the House of Lords after the Commons have seen it through, where it is also likely to pass through at speed, given the clear importance and pressure the government is placing on the bill.