News: The Investigatory Powers Bill will now proceed to the House of Lords.
The Investigatory Powers Bill has passed through the House of Commons as both the Conservative and Labour parties backed it.
The IP Bill, sometimes labelled with the derogatory term ‘Snoopers Charter’, passed with 444 votes in support to 69 against in the third reading of the bill.
It will now proceed to the House of Lords, where it may still be amended or challenged.
Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary, led Labour to vote in favour of the bill after negotiating with Theresa May on specific parts of the proposed law. Labour had previously abstained on the second reading of the bill.
"Those who adopted blanket opposition got nothing," Burnham wrote in a reply to a tweet from a user who lambasted his "utterly pathetic opposition."
"I won 7 major concessions on privacy, ICRs, bulk powers & trades unions," wrote Burnham.
The IP Bill is intended to provide the UK Government with new abilities to legally conduct surveillance on citizens, including tracking online activity. The Government claims that the new powers will help it prevent terrorist attacks.
Critics have attacked the far-reaching powers of the report. For example, internet service providers will now have to keep records of customers’ online activity for a year even if they are not suspected of crime.
Labour’s Dennis Skinner, the octogenarian MP nicknamed the Beast of Bolsover and famous for his annual heckle during the Queen’s Speech proceedings, was one of two Labour votes against the bill. There was one Conservative rebel, Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski.
It was opposed by the fifty Scottish National Party MPs, the eight MPs of the Liberal Democrats, the three Plaid Cymru MPs, Green MP Caroline Lucas, the two SDLP MPs and two independent MPs.
Home Secretary Theresa May plans to get the act into law by the end of 2016, in order to replace existing laws before they expire. It will be the first comprehensive legal framework for state surveillance in the world.
A recent report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said that the bulk collection powers were "inherently compatible" with the right to respect for private life. The Report said that the powers could be justified if there was a sufficiently clear legal basis, if they were necessary and proportionate and safeguarded against arbitrariness.
However, many commercial organisations such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo have opposed the legislation.
In a joint submission to the Investigatory Powers Bill Joint Committee, the firms said: "The actions the UK Government takes here could have far reaching implications – for our customers, for your own citizens, and for the future of the global technology industry."
Activist groups such as Amnesty International and SumOfUs have also opposed the bill.