200 lawyers slam UK govt plan for online spying law

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LONDON (AP) — More than 200 lawyers have urged the British government to overhaul a proposed spying law that gives police unprecedented powers to look at the Internet browsing histories of everyone in the country.

In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, senior attorneys say the Investigatory Powers Bill "compromises the essence of the fundamental right to privacy and may be illegal." The bill, being debated Tuesday in the House of Commons, gives police and spies broad powers to scoop up Internet browsing data and requires telecommunications companies to store customers' Web histories for up to a year.

Telecoms firms have also expressed concerns about the legislation.

Despite the criticism, the bill is expected to pass its first Parliamentary vote. The main opposition Labour Party says it will abstain, rather than oppose it.