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Anti-Terror Bill becomes law

Concessions made

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The Anti-Terror Bill became law just after midnight last night after Home Secretary made several concessions to the Lords.

With regard to the controversial measure that will allow government bodies, the police and the security services to force ISPs and mobile companies to hand over up to seven years of data on an individual, the Lords made several in-roads.

Now any demand will have to be in connection to terrorism (previously the demand for valid for a range of minor offences, like tax evasion) and must be "proportionate" to the offence.

David Blunkett was however allowed to retain control over the code of practice for the demand of data - which effectively makes the "voluntary" code mandatory.

The plan to make incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence was dropped and the government said it didn't plan to introduce a separate bill for the measure. Also, the government agreed to a review of the legislation after two years; European legislation will not be able to be introduced without going through the Parliamentary process; and foreign terrorist suspects can be detained without trial but not deported and with a right of appeal (although not with a full law court) - this will also be reviewed after 15 months.

The bill, which has had a turbulent time being sent back and forth between the two Houses, will become law in time for Xmas. ®

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