Browsing online extremism ‘may put you in jail’
NEW terror laws risk criminalising people who look at extremist material online out of “curiosity”, a committee of MPS has warned.
The joint committee on human rights, made up of five Tory and four Labour MPS, said new measures to tackle terrorism “cross the line” on human rights and should be amended or scrapped altogether. Home
‘Despite previous warnings, this Bill still crosses the line on human rights’
Office ministers claim the powers, which include the right to arrest anyone returning to the UK from a designated country such as Syria, will help the UK to guard against attacks and extremism.
But the committee warned that some of the new measures mean people would not be free to look at material on the internet or express support for proscribed organisations without the threat of prison.
Harriet Harman, the Labour chairman of the committee, said: “Despite our previous warnings, this Bill still crosses the line on human rights. We’ve put forward a range of amendments designed to bring it in line with human rights, taking into account the wide-ranging evidence we took.
“The Government has failed to give us adequate justification for provisions which risk undermining free speech and giving them wide and unaccountable powers. I trust the Lords will make sure the Government will now address our arguments properly.”
But Ben Wallace, the security minister, warned the new powers are essential to protect the UK from threats and ensure people do not engage in extremism. He said: “It is our view that the measures in the Counter-terrorism and Border Security Bill are necessary, proportionate and compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and so I am disappointed with the committee’s conclusions.
“After the spate of terrorist attacks of last year and the deadly nerve agent attack in Salisbury, our intelligence services and police made the case for an update of existing legislation and some new powers to help meet their operational needs and respond to the evolving threats posed by terrorism and hostile state activity.”