A wave of emergency powers and extreme measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic have brought about the greatest loss of liberty in our country's history. Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures - but not an authoritarian surveillance state. Freedoms are too easily lost in the heat of crises - join us to protect them.
Emergency measures are needed to protect public health. However, they must be proportionate, lawful and strictly temporary, to protect our democracy in the long run.
Since the pandemic began, the UK has been under ministerial rule. Draconian powers have been seized, democratic processes have been evaded, and our most basic liberties have been suspended. Protecting public health doesn’t require this new authoritarian political order.
We’ve been monitoring the new police powers, the growth of the surveillance state and big tech censorship online.
We’re producing comprehensive reports exposing the drastic suspension of civil liberties, analysing new emergency laws and making recommendations to restore rights and democracy. We're sending our Emergency Powers & Civil Liberties Reports to every parliamentarian, every month.
Our next report will be published in early October 2021.
TAKE ACTION: Is your MP standing up for your rights? Tell your MP which of our report recommendations you'd like them to follow up on. Emails to MPs can make a real difference — remember, they work for you. Find your MP's contact details here.
To date, around 20,000 people have been fined for allegedly breaching the lockdown. However, these draconian powers have been used unlawfully time and time again, and disproportionately against black and Asian people. We've rallied 13 rights groups, 40+ parliamentarians, human rights lawyers and Reverend Martin Poole to demand a review of EVERY lockdown fine - now.
If you received a fine, whether you paid it or not, tell us in confidence.
Is your MP standing up for your rights? Tell your MP which of our report recommendations you'd like them to follow up on. Emails to MPs can make a real difference - remember, they work for you.
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to join the fight back. Join us today — we’re sending new supporters our limited edition “2020 is the new 1984” t-shirts!
Thanks to thousands of our supporters emailing their MPs, we helped achieve a much-needed amendment to the emergency Coronavirus Act, ensuring a vote in parliament on the Act every 6 months. The first vote is in September - we'll need our voice to be louder than ever. Please join us and subscribe for action alerts.
The Coronavirus Act contains the most draconian powers ever in peace-time Britain, including:
In a HUGE win for privacy advocates, the Government has ditched its GCHQ-backed, data-centralising contact tracing app that we warned was a failure from the start - and are said to be replacing it with a more privacy-friendly decentralised app.
We'll work hard to make sure any new app respects privacy and is completely voluntary.
The pandemic has been used to expand the surveillance state: from drones and social media shaming, to mass mobile phone tracking, ANPR, citizen reporting, talk of immunity passports, and a new form of health surveillance — thermal scanning. We're monitoring these worrying developments and taking action. Below is a small selection of our work. Don't miss our 100 Days of Lockdown film where we examine growing surveillance.
As an organisation that defends freedom of expression, we're concerned that tech companies are limiting free speech on their platforms at this moment of international crisis, in ways that are not proportional or time limited.
Read our letters below: