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Ministers warned over “rushed” data law

Institution of Engineering and Technology | The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

2 min read Partner content

MPs must properly debate and examine proposed new emergency legislation, cyber-security experts have warned.

Home secretary Theresa May has told the Commons that a new Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill will be rushed through Parliament next week.

A European court judgement in April has thrown into doubt the legality of the requirement on phone and internet companies to retain communications data. The government will now legislate to ensure they are still required to do so under UK law.

Prime minister David Cameron said: "We face real and credible threats to our security from serious and organised crime, from the activity of paedophiles, from the collapse of Syria, the growth of Isis in Iraq and al Shabab in East Africa.

"I am simply not prepared to be a prime minister who has to address the people after a terrorist incident and explain that I could have done more to prevent it."

Dr Martyn Thomas from the Institution of Engineering and Technology( IET), said: "In principle, the proposals are important for national security and law enforcement. It is essential that any intrusion into a citizen's private affairs is minimal, proportionate to the benefits to society as a whole, and properly controlled and supervised.

“Hasty legislation has often proved to be badly flawed. The Government has not yet published the detail of the proposed Bill, so it’s important to make sure that the draft Bill is examined and debated in detail before legislation is passed."

The IEThighlights the Digital Economy Act 2010, which set out to address issues relating to copyright infringement, as an example of hastily introduced legislation which ultimately had little effect on curbing illegal file-sharing.

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