DRIP, we meet again. [Letter to my MP]

Hello again Paul,

Thanks for your measured response to my concern regarding DRIP earlier this year. Though I believe we didn’t see eye to eye on the matter with respects to DRIP, I’m writing to you again about the expanding surveillance culture in the UK. In your email you sent to me you characterised the Government’s rush-through of DRIP to be ‘an affront to parliamentary democracy’, that the government ‘should have come forward with proposals much sooner…’ the UK is now faced with yet another surveillance expanding rush job and I am calling on you to not vote unlike the last time.

This is a poorly considered bill which makes the unwieldy large, invasive security state larger still.

The bill expands the scope of DRIP, forcing telecoms companies to retain more information than previously required by RIPA and DRIP. This amounts to a further expansion of indiscriminate spying of all British citizens (not to mention humans in general) which was found to be illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union. You should not double down on bad law.

The components of the law (Part 5 Chapter 1) which deal with preventing people from being drawn into terrorism mixes the definitions of police and society at large. Should NHS Trusts be responsible for preventing terrorism? Simply answered: no. NHS Trusts’ sole reason for existence is to heal the sick and keep Britain healthy and hale. The distinctions between police and doctor or teacher and solider are incredibly important in Britain, it is imperative that these roles do not get mixed. It undermines trust in our institutions, and thus makes the less effective. Additionally, what form does this general duty to prevent terrorism take? This should be answered fully before enacted.

Frankly, you said you didn’t like a bill being crammed through Parliament last time. Why should you let it go through this time? There is no ticking clock, there’s no potential lost information; this is a power grab for power’s sake and thus should be subject to your, and all other Parliamentarians’ scrutiny before being passed into law.

I want you to vote no on the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill tomorrow at second stage. I’d be pleased as punch if you did. However this time is different to DRIP, this isn’t an emergency, this isn’t protecting ‘existing powers’, this shouldn’t be a rush job, this isn’t ‘running to stand still’. This is a new bill, with new implications.

You can say you want to pass the bill, and you don’t feel the need to scrutinise.
You can say you’ve been whipped into trooping through the yes lobby.
But you can no longer use the argument that time is of the essence.

Regards,

Andrew Fergusson

 
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