PROPOSED Tory “snooping” laws are unclear and confusing, according to the Commons science and technology committee report published today.
The panel of MPs says a number of terms in the Investigatory Powers Bill are poorly defined, leading to worries among technology firms over implementation costs.
It said the Bill risks undermining Britain’s technology sector and should be urgently reviewed.
The committee also raised concerns about powers to allow spies to hack suspects’ smartphones.
Tory committee chairwoman Nicola Blackwood said: “We need our security services to be able to do their job and prevent terrorism, but as legislators we need to be careful not to inadvertently disadvantage the UK’s rapidly growing tech sector.
“The current lack of clarity within the draft Investigatory Powers Bill is causing concern amongst businesses. There are widespread doubts over the definition, not to mention the definability, of a number of the terms used in the draft Bill.”
One row surrounds the proposed duty to store “internet connection records,” which Ms Blackwood says is a “very broad and ambiguous” term.
The report also cites concerns that citizens will react angrily to provisions for technology companies to be complicit in “equipment interference” by security services, which can range from remotely accessing a computer to downloading the contents of a mobile phone.
The government has sought to reassure technology companies by promising to reimburse the entire costs of storing data held on snoopees.