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Lib Dems go against RIP bill

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The Liberal Democrat's Party convention has brought a few more people out of the shadows and into the fight against aspects of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill.

Trade and Industry Spokesman, Vincent Cable said that it was not just the huge cost of monitoring emails that should be ringing alarm bells, but the implications for civil liberties and the sheer logistics of the beast.

"This is a civil liberties issue," he said. "But we can't disregard that this will impose an enormous regulatory burden on what should be one of our high growth sectors, and is unnecessary and damaging."

He also drew attention to the huge cost of implementing the legislation. He said that current estimates put the cost for the equipment would total at £640 million over the next five years, and that the overall cost to the economy would be around £50 billion. These figure have previously been disputed by the government.

Under the law, any authorised person (woolly definitions r us) can read a private email without a warrant or court order, and Jack Straw, or any successor, can authorise unlimited online snooping, if he or she deems in to be needed.

Lord McNally, who has been active in the debate over the Bill (such as it was) commented: "I used to believe Jack Straw was a civil libertarian. I now believe we're playing with an authoritarian and illiberal home secretary."

He went on to assert that we must find a way of managing the huge implications of the online world in such a way that we do not stifle all the good things it brings with it. He said that democratic control was the key, and that beyond it lay anarchy. ®

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