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Scottish Ministers 'Disappointed' Over Introduction of UK Emergency Surveillance Law

RIA Novosti

16:39 10/07/2014

EDINBURGH, July 10 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – The Scottish Government has expressed its "disappointment" about UK Government proposals to rush through legislation that will allow Britain's intelligence services to continue to carry out mass surveillance of the population.

In a statement Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said, "We are disappointed at the lack of prior consultation and discussion from UK Government on today's announcement given how much this legislation potentially impinges on areas of Scots law that are clearly devolved and under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Government or our law enforcement agencies, including the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service."

"While the retention of communications data is currently a reserved matter, the Scottish Government takes the safety and security of our communities extremely seriously," MacAskill added in his statement.

"In an independent Scotland, this Government will set out clear arrangements for investigatory powers, updating existing legislation where necessary," MacAskill said. "This will ensure that law enforcement agencies have the powers that they need to do their job and keep Scotland safe, while also clarifying the limit of those powers and the extent of the controls over them."

In a joint announcement the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron and his Deputy, Nick Clegg, said the decision to pass emergency legislation in one week was necessary to fight "criminals and terrorists", but the move has been strongly criticized by civil liberty campaigners.

The move by the UK Government followed a ruling by the European Court of Justice which concluded an EU directive requiring internet and telecommunications companies to store emails, texts and other customer details for 12 months was illegal.

The decision by the UK Government to pass the emergency Act of Parliament has the backing of the main opposition Labour Party.

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