Lawrence Jones MBE is calling on the government to urgently reconsider its Draft Investigatory Powers Bill before it passes through parliament this month, claiming it is a risk to business and to citizens’ rights.
The draft bill, which is set to be introduced to parliament this week, is understood to contain plans which mandate the collection and storage of individuals’ internet activities, including social media, messaging and browsing records, for 12 months.
Jones said: “Apart from the fact that it’s un-British and unethical to collect this bulk private data from people, the impact it could have on British digital businesses is significant. We currently trade on the fact that we have more security and privacy rights than our American counterparts, but that competitive advantage could be removed.
“The Snooper’s Charter is already costing the UK communications and technology industry and forcing innovative and successful firms to relocate their operations outside of the UK. Look at Eris Industries who are a great company; they are planning to relocate their operations if this bill is passed in its current form.
“The government estimates the Snooper’s Charter will cost nearly £2 billion to implement, but I wonder if they have thought of the other costs which it will rack up. There is the critical issue of actually storing the data for 12 months. Who will bear the cost of managing that staggering amount of information? I’m not sure they’ve been getting the best advice.
Jones has pledged to make Manchester, UKFast’s current base, the greatest tech city in the UK.
He continued: “If the country, and Manchester in particular, is to continue to build on the fantastic growth of its tech sector in the last few years then we are going to have to take a serious look at this legislation.
“I can appreciate the concern that politicians and the public have, but simply because they have a concern does not mean they can ignore the engineering and how technology and the internet work. This is like using a JCB to crack a nut.”
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