Huppert pushes for Digital Bill of Rights to protect freedom

MP Julian Huppert is pushing for a Digital Bill of Rights to bring out of date and inadequate laws protecting freedom and human rights into the electronic age.

He will join Tim Farron, President of the Liberal Democrats to call on delegates at the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York to support a policy motion on Sunday (March 9).

“The legislative framework we have is woefully out of date and worryingly inadequate,” said Julian. “Parliament must do better. That is why we are proposing a Digital Bill of Rights to enshrine proper protections for citizens.

“At its core, our proposal for a Digital Bill of Rights ensures that there would be no surveillance without suspicion, and that our digital communication and behaviour are treated with the same respect and legal due process that we expect for our offline communication and behaviour.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned since the Snowden revelations, it’s that the protection of our civil liberties requires constant vigilance. But in our digital world, it is becoming harder to know when our fundamental human rights are being breached; the ever-increasing digital footprint of our lives can be copied, stored, and searched without us ever knowing. From our location, to our social connections, and our electronic conversations, the metadata of our nation is being collected, filtered and analysed.”

The motion will call on the government to publish annually the number of data requests made by law enforcement, the intelligence agencies and other authorities and the crime or event being investigated.

It demands a review of state surveillance and recent allegations from the Edward Snowden leaks by a specially established commission of experts.

And it offers protection for the digital rights of citizens from over-reach by the state and gives citizens access to their data.

“We plan for this to be a core part of our civil liberties case at the next election,” said Julian. “We are proud that the Lib Dems are leading the debate on this vital issue in Parliament, just as it was us who killed off the Communications Data Bill; that would have led to even more state surveillance.”

“The UK has a proud history of leading on freedoms and civil liberties. On this issue, Parliament should be leading the debate, not trailing it.”

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