The British Parliament’s cross-party select committee on human rights has publicized serious concerns over the scope and wording of anti-terrorism and border control legislation currently under consideration.
Among the most problematic aspects of the legislation highlighted in the Committee’s report are the criminalization of an opinion expressed in support of a proscribed terrorist organization or that might encourage support for such an organization.
Viewing online material supportive of or produced by a proscribed terrorist organization on more than three occasions would also become a criminal offense regardless of intent.
The Committee, chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, warned that numerous innocent people could be caught up in the consequences of the legislation, such as journalists and researchers viewing such content as part of their work, or curious individuals without any criminal intent.
Panellists also voiced the fear that the legislations proposed stop and search powers, which would be dramatically enhanced, could interfere with British citizens’ rights to privacy and family life.
During public submissions to the Committee, organizations such as Reporters Without Borders also condemned the possible changes to the law as a serious threat to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
The intensification of anti-terror legislation in the UK since 9/11 has been claimed, even by Conservative members of the government such as David Davis and Dominic Raab, the former and current Brexit Secretaries, of having gone too far and posing a threat to the fundamental rights of all UK nationals.