The anti-terrorism bill was published on 12th November, obtained Royal Assent at 12. 30 midnight on Thursday 13th December and by 19th December eight people had been detained under its "internment" provisions. I Human rights organisations, including political adversaries, argue that the vast and vague language proposed in legislation, such as the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and The Civil Contingency Bill, suggests intelligence agencies and police have a lot of latitude in interpretation of these laws.
How then can governments protect their citizens against secretive terrorist networks without intruding on people's privacy? Governments obviously need a certain extent of power to eliminate the possibilities of violent attacks, although equally as important they must pursue to ensure that citizen's rights and liberties are not violated. The question, which evolves from this situation, is, how much intrusion constitutes a true infringement on fundamental civil liberties and to what extent will this intrusion be tolerated.Amount of power the government has through the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 The world is aware about the result on September 11th, 2001 in America. This significant day was the birth of 'anti-terrorist' legislation in places all over the world, which will limit our freedoms.
Britain is confronted with David Blunkett's Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act. Its proposed measures provide the basis for an Orwellian society with increased eavesdropping and loss of personal privacy. It also severely limits free speech and general criticism of religion. This is mind-numbing to free thought.Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act enables the government the choice to provisionally opt out of the ECHR in cases of emergencies, and simultaneously, endorse powers that infringe on rights that the ECHR assures.
The most arguable issue regarding this legislation is what exactly constitutes an emergency? Due to the vague wording of the act, emergency can constitute almost any atypical event meaning that the government can, to all intents and purposes, suspend the ECHR at will. The act covers people involved in the fields of journalism, broadcasting, politics and a wide range of other fields in life.Guardian Unlimited's Charles Shoebridge states "The danger is, however, that the threat of arrest, investigation and prosecution, as well as a possible seven-year sentence, will deter those who currently feel free to comment upon religious affairs from even taking the risk. "II According to Matthew Tempest, political correspondent of Guardian Unlimited, the bill will "introduce some of the most stringent infringements on civil liberties in Britain since the second world war. "III This form of legislation is displayed as a 'provisional' measure to combat terrorism, although such bills have historically been prolonged infringements on freedom.There are vast other procedures that the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act contain which are hidden such as: * Enabling the police to access confidential information held by government departments and public bodies for the purposes of any criminal investigation, including passing the details on to other police forces round the world (Sections 17 to 20).
* Giving the Ministry of Defence Police jurisdiction across the UK, rather than only on various MoD properties as was allowed before (Sections 98 to 101).Requiring communications providers to store details of users' communications as the Home Secretary orders and provide them to the police for the purposes of any investigation (Sections 102 to 107). * Allowing the Home Secretary to extend criminal justice and anti-terrorism legislation via secondary legislation and without prior parliamentary approval (Section 124), IV thus allowing the government to legislate on criminal justice matters by decree, an authority usually reserved for dictators.Although, this would be seen as covering all measures in the act, it does cover the most arguable points in terms of violation of the ECHR. /11, an adequate reason to implement changes in law? "Counter-terrorism legislation", something in its very concept is dubious in law.
The adequate criminal law held by this country seems to be a lot more capable of balancing the challenging welfares of public protection and persons rights through its instruments for impugning criminal acts, endeavours and conspiracies and for allowing pre-trial detention. Any anti-terrorist law poses an apparent danger of evolving a mediocre criminal justice system affording lesser protections to the individual.