1. Draft letter to local press on the draft Communications Data Bill
Posted November 2012
You can use this template letter to write to your local newspaper about the draft Communications Data Bill. That can be a really good way of explaining to people in your area what is happening and why it is of concern. Remember, many people may not know anything about what is being proposed, so it's important not to assume any knowledge of the topic and to explain things as clearly as possible.
Dear Sir / Madam
In a letter to voters before the last general election, David Cameron said that it is 'time to take a stand against the ever-increasing powers of the “big brother state”'. And when they took office, the Coalition promised to roll back surveillance.
I am extremely concerned that they now seem determined to do the exact opposite. The Government want extend powers to collect and allow access to all sorts of information about our online communications.
This 'draft Communications Data Bill' has been dubbed the 'Snoopers' Charter' by campaigners, because it is a significant threat to our privacy and civil liberties.
Companies like BT or Google will have to store more information about what we all do online than ever before, and allow law enforcement to access it. That would include details of who we email, when we message friends on Facebook and the things we 'like', the sites we visit, the apps we use and where we are when we use them.
The civil servants who wrote this proposal in Westminster talk about protecting national security. What about the safety of vulnerable people who visit local health or personal advice services, or of whistleblowers or journalists' sources? How are they supposed to trust that what they say or do online is confidential?
The Coalition agreement promised the Government would 'implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion'.
It really is time they lived up to that promise, and dropped these dangerous plans.
2. Draft Union branch resolution on the draft Communication Data Bill
Posted November 2012.
You can use this to talk with your union about the draft Communications Data Bill and why it matters, and to propose a resolution.
This branch of the Union notes:
1. The draft Communications Data Bill was introduced in the Queen's Speech in May 2012.
2. The Bill includes proposals for significantly increased powers to order the gathering of communications data by communications service providers.
3. The Bill does nothing to improve on the current, weak regime that permits access to communications data
4. The recent history of efforts to 'blacklist' union members on the basis of their political or union affiliations.
This branch believes:
1. The proposed powers would lead to the gathering of more communications information about union members.
2. This information could indicate political and union activities and other sensitive information, such as health details.
3. Access to this information will be too easy, with internal law enforcement sign off and insufficient oversight of the access regime.
4. The powers will be abused by those looking to undermine union activity or union members' rights.
This branch resolves to:
1.To support calls that the draft Bill should be dropped.
2. Pursue a resolution on this issue in the [regional / national conference / insert relevant event].
3. Seek to ensure that the confidentiality of union members' communications, and by extension the details of their political affiliations or other sensitive information, is promoted rather than undermined by any new Government proposals to modernise surveillance laws.