Spy Bill Includes New Safeguards

The Home Office has tightened up privacy safeguards in new proposed spying laws.

The Investigatory Powers Bill will force service providers to store browsing records for 12 months.

The Home Office was required to revise the draft bill after concerns by three committees of MPs, who felt it did not do enough to protect privacy and was too vague.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said the revised bill took the concerns on board and said it was now both "clearer and stronger in protecting privacy".

The bill expands the purposes for which police can obtain internet connection records detailing the websites and online applications people use. It adds that it can be acquired for a specific investigation provided it's "necessary and proportionate".

Ministers say the new laws will help fight terrorism but internet firms have questioned their practicality. Civil liberties campaigners say it clears the way for mass surveillance of UK citizens.

Executive director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock, said: "On first reading, the revised Bill barely pays lip service to the concerns raised by the committees that scrutinised the draft Bill.

"If passed, it would mean that the UK has one of the most draconian surveillance laws of any democracy with mass surveillance powers to monitor every citizen's browsing history."

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