The British government introduced a far-ranging bill last week aimed at protecting U.K. citizens from international terrorism. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill aims to bolster the U.K.’s ability to disrupt people travelling abroad to fight, reduce the risks they pose on their return, and combat the underlying ideology that feeds, supports, and sanctions terror.
According to Government Security News, the collapse of Syria, the emergence of ISIL and ongoing instability in Iraq present significant dangers not just in the Middle East but in Britain and across the West. Many of the 500 British citizens who have travelled to Syria and Iraq have joined terrorist organizations alongside foreign fighters from Europe and further afield, according to the U.K.’s Home Office.
Goals include disrupting potential terrorists’ travel by providing the police with a temporary power to seize a passport at the border from individuals of concern.
It also creates a Temporary Exclusion Order that will control the return to the U.K. of a British citizen suspected of involvement in terrorist activity abroad. It also enhances border security by toughening transport security arrangements around passenger data, “no fly” lists and screening measures.
To strengthen security relating to those inside the U.K., the bill enhances existing Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, including the introduction of stronger locational constraints and a power requiring individuals to attend meetings with the authorities as part of their ongoing management.
It also aims to curb radicalization, by, among other measures, creating a general duty on a range of bodies to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. It would also disrupt wider activities of terrorist organizations by requiring communications service providers to retain additional information in order to attribute an Internet Protocol address to a specific individual. In addition, the bill would amend existing law to ensure that U.K.-based insurance firms cannot reimburse the payment of terrorist ransoms.
The legislation also adds new safeguards to protect individual’s rights. These include appropriate legal thresholds, judicial oversight of certain measures, and a power to create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to support the work of the country’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC.