Academics urge MPs to respect rule of law and democracy as surveillance powers grow

A group of academics have penned an open letter to MPs warning Parliament to respect the rule of law and democracy as the new Conservative government prepares to dust off its Communications Data Bill, including sweeping new surveillance powers.

Some 30 academics, from both sides of the argument, have put their weight behind the missive, which calls for full parliamentary scrutiny to be applied to all developments and powers arising from UK surveillance laws.

The letter read: “We are comprised of people from both sides of the issue – those who believe that increased powers are a reasonable response to an emerging threat, and those who think them an unjustified extension of state interference. Our common goal is to see the rule of law applied and parliamentary oversight reasserted.”

Planned new powers would require internet and mobile phone firms to hold records’ of customers’ browsing history, social media, emails, voice messages, online gaming and texts for a period of one year.

This data would then be made available to the government and security services as required.