Fresh from their election victory, the Conservative Party is to bring back the Draft Communications Data Bill - known by its many critics as the Snooper's Charter.
Described by its opponents as an intrusive and draconian piece of ill-thought-out legislation
, the Draft Communications Bill requires internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over information on the sender and recipient of all messages transferred through their systems. While the bill does not include the contents of the message - which would require a court order to access - it is enough to gather context clues about a person, especially combined with the Bill's requirement for ISPs to also supply the government with a list of all websites accessed by its customers.
When brought before the Conservative-Liberal Democract coalition, the Bill was shot down - but with the Conservatives now in sole control, it's coming back. Theresa May has confirmed plans to bring the Bill back before Parliament, and with a Conservative majority it is likely to be approved, along with other invasive measures previously mooted by Prime Minister David Cameron including the requirement for all encryption systems to contain back-doors or other weaknesses that can be exploited by the UK's security services.
If passed into law, the Bill is expected to cost up to £1.8 billion to implement over a ten-year period, during a time when the government is cutting benefits and essential public services in the name of austerity. In figures released in 2012 in support of the Bill, it was claimed that the costs would be recouped thanks to claimed 'benefits' from its implementation totalling between £5 billion and £6.2 billion, mostly through monitoring 'preventing revenue loss through tax fraud and facilitating the seizure of criminal assets.