Is this a victory for common sense? the bill that would have allowed the Government to mandate storage of every website we visit and who we talk to via Skype and the many other instant messenger applications appears to be over, if what the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is saying is correct.
"What people have dubbed the snooper's charter - I have to be clear with you, that's not going to happen.
In other words the idea that the government will pass a law which means there will be a record kept of every website you visit, who you communicate with on social media sites, that's not going to happen.
It's certainly not going to happen with Liberal Democrats in government."Nick Clegg on Snooper's Charter
Politics is full of these power plays, so while the bill appears to be dead in its current form, it is possible that it may re-surface with changes that make it paletable to the coalition. Of particular interest are some comments in the Guardian coverage of the climb down, that suggest the Home Office has spent £400m developing the proposal.
"Industry are looking for clarity from Government that the draft bill will not be brought forward in its current form.
This is an important and sensitive issue for industry and the wider internet community and we have argued all along that there is a need to review law enforcement’s powers in this area. However, as we have consistently maintained, any new powers should be workable and proportionate. As was raised during the draft bill’s scrutiny by the Joint Committee, we are yet to be convinced that the current proposals for a bill will meet these requirements, in particular the third party data retention requirements and the request filter.
We urge Government to reassess the current proposals and ensure, as recommended by the Joint Committee, that industry and other stakeholders are properly consulted in any future review of powers."ISPA Chairman Mark Gracey
The ISPA comment above may seem a little odd, but there is the possibility that the Home Secretary Theresa May and the Home Office may continue to try and push the bill through in its current form even at the risk of breaking the coalition. Therefore seeking a full clarification to confirm this is not the case is important.