Monthly Archives: January 2017

Brexit goes to Parliament

On returning from LP conference in September last year, I predicted that the left/right split had been added to by arguments over Brexit and Immigration. The last couple of days has shown this clearly. It starts from May’s declaration that the UK will be seeking to leave the single market and the customs union, the so-called “Hard Brexit”. This is because they wrongly think that this is the only way to implement more restrictive border controls and for reasons I can’t really understand hate the European Court of Justice. The UK Supreme Court has since ruled that only Parliament can agree to leave the EU and implement Article 50’s intention to quit. This article looks at the politics of the situation, especially as it applies to the Parliamentary Labour Party and argues that Labour’s policy of defining red-lines, and asking for a second mandate if the terms of exit are unacceptable are fair, democratic and desirable.

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Why you should be bothered about the Snoopers Charter

Late last year, the UK Parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. This law builds on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Acts and the Data Retention Laws. This law allows the Government to store all our electronic communications traffic, read the content and meta data and co-opt the product and service vendors to help them. I describe this in more detail below.

The Law was written in the aftermath of Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) ruling in the Schrems vs. Facebook case that the EU’s Data Retention Directive and hence the member state implementations were in contradiction to the EU’s human rights law, the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Parliament had considered aspects of these proposals twice before under the two previous administrations and rejected them.

This article looks at the new Law, criticises it on Human Rights grounds in that it jeopardises the right to privacy, the right to organise, the right to a fair trial and rights to free speech and on IT Security grounds in that the new regulation of encryption products jeopardises access to electronic trust and privacy. It also examines the likely impact of the recent CJEU ruling on the legality of its predecessor law, and in passing, likely conflicts with last year’s passage of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union.

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