The party line from MPs who are being told by their parties to vote in mass-scale, warrantless surveillance powers is that the law doesn't change anything — it's a lie.
DRIP makes sweeping changes to the existing — illegal — surveillance powers that the highest EU court struck down. The Open Rights Group has helpfully rounded up a "myth list" of the things you'll hear from your MP when you write to them and tell them that there's no need for these powers to be rushed through without debate.
The Prime Minister said, "we are not introducing new powers or capabilities" but in fact DRIP does not just deal with Regulations that were made illegal by the CJEU ruling. Clauses 3 to 5 of the Bill make amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). DRIP extends the government's surveillance powers in two ways:
* It extends the territorial scope of RIPA – this means that the government can issue interception warrants for communications data to companies outside of the UK.
* It extends the definition of "telecommunications service" within RIPA. This will include webmail services such as Gmail. What isn't clear is what other kinds of internet services are included.
The DRIP myth list [Pam Cowburn/Open Rights Group]
(Image: drip, jim simonson, CC-BY)