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Lib Dems plot surveillance rebellion


By John Glenday | Reporter

April 3, 2012 | 2 min read

Government plans to significantly extend the power of GCHQ to snoop on public communications could be scuppered after senior Lib Dem MPs threatened to rebel.

The group are said to be seeking ‘clarification’ from deputy PM Nick Clegg over whether the legislation would grant the intelligence agency power to intercept email, phone and social media communications without the need for a warrant.

Proponents assert that only raw data such as times, dates and numbers would be available to them – not the actual content of messages, but concern remains that access to their content would still be possible.

Julian Huppert, the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, said "No expert I've ever spoken to can see how this could possibly be done without great expense and without allowing access to the actual message that was sent – which is not legal without a warrant from the home secretary.”

He was joined by fellow MP mark Hunter who said: “If we are to continue to punch above our weight in government, as we have so far, then this is one issue that we will have argue out [in the party]. This was not in the coalition agreement. This is a potentially tricky one to deal with."

Tory MP David Davis, has already spoken out against the plans, calling them ”an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people.”


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