Four years to the day since the passing of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Government has passed yet another counter-terrorism law, The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act. The Act will significantly increase the reach of the security apparatus in public and private life.
We have warned previously, including in our in our submissions to parliament that War on Terror values are increasingly being pushed into the domestic sphere.
Notably, the media spotlight has been shifted away from the main passage of the bill, and towards the much-touted PREVENT ‘independent review’ now included as part of it, in order to shield and distract the public from the serious implications of the new law.
They key issues of concern in the Act include:
- New and broader terror-related offences and longer prison sentences;
- Widening the scope of surveillance and intelligence-gathering outside the sphere of crime, with new powers to stop, search and detain individuals without suspicion;
- Securitising the public sector, by further co-opting local authorities into PREVENT;
- Building consent from the public for the wholesale regulation of the online space.
- Enabling the state to prosecute where there is an absence of evidence of actual ‘terror’ related activity as with the new designated areas offence.
Asim Qureshi, CAGE Research Director said:
These terror laws are about control and silencing dissent. As we have consistently highlighted, counter-terror legislations are a danger to all of society, when in place, they are used to curb the activities of all who challenge Government policies, from environmental protestors to citizen groups protesting against state overreach.
He continued, “the challenge for all right-thinking people is to unite in dismantling the countless laws passed under the guise of fighting terrorism and return to an evidence-based approach to addressing the challenges we face.”
This article was originally published here on CAGE.