Tell your MP to stand against terror and stand up for our rights by rejecting the Government’s kneejerk new law
“We should not legislate in haste, we should not use the mantra of ‘something has to be done’ as an excuse for creating new laws.”
Max Hill QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
Terrorists’ primary goal is to undermine our freedom and change our way of life – so our Government’s response to these violent criminals should be to guard and celebrate our rights all the more fiercely.
But the Home Secretary’s new counter-terror law does the exact opposite. It risks giving terrorists exactly what they want.
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill is a serious threat to our freedom. Instead of a rational, evidence-driven response to national security concerns, it offers a string of poorly conceived new proposals that amount to a blind expansion of government power.
By creating new offences that criminalise seeking information and expressing opinions, Sajid Javid is pushing the law even further away from effectively tackling terrorism – and into the realm of policing pure speech and opinion. If it passes, this law will be a dangerous step towards the normalisation of thought crime.
- Introduces a “three strikes” policy for people who view content the Government deems extreme. People who watch the wrong YouTube videos could be jailed for 15 years.
- Broadens the offence of “inviting support for a proscribed organisation” by removing the requirement that you must have done so “knowingly” to be convicted. People who merely express a view that could be interpreted as favourable to a specific group could be turned into criminals.
- Bans photographs of items of clothing or flags declared illegal under other counter-terror laws.
- Extends how long authorities can keep your biometric data, like your fingerprints and DNA – even if you’ve never been convicted of any crime.
- Brings local authorities under the widely-condemned Prevent counter-extremism strategy, which already incites discrimination and fails to respond to widespread calls for an independent review of Prevent.
- Expands powers for suspicionless detentions, interrogations and searches of people at UK borders and airports — including the ability to download and keep all the data on your phone or laptop when you board an airplane or cross a border.
“Knee-jerk, something-must-be-done lawmaking”
The Government’s own reviewer of terrorism legislation Max Hill QC recently warned against “knee-jerk, something-must-be-done lawmaking” and attempts to criminalise thought.
It is already an offence to plan acts of terrorism or join a terrorist group – as well as to encourage other people to do the same – but our criminal law is rightly built on the need for action, as well as intent.
Locking people up for exploring ideas when they never intended to commit a crime is censorship. It risks criminalising innocent people, chilling free speech and curbing journalistic and academic inquiry.
Don’t let the Home Secretary hand terrorists this victory while Parliament is distracted by the bluster of Brexit.
Tell your MP to stand up for our rights, stand up to terror and vote down these misguided plans.