Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has pledged the government will not revive the controversial Communications Data Bill, commonly known as the Snooper's Charter.
Clegg said that despite calls for reforms to track extremist behaviour online, practical limitations make granting law enforcement the power to force internet service providers (ISPs) to store details of everyone's internet use remain unworkable. The comments were made during his weekly LBC 97.3 radio slot.
"Very important parts of what was proposed weren't workable because the industry - the Facebooks, the Googles and all these people - upon whose cooperation we rely to go after the bad people, just said it wasn't workable in its present form. I think other aspects of it also struck me as perhaps being disproportionate," he said.
Clegg said that forcing ISPs to store and hand over data would also have wider global political ramifications. "I spend a lot of time working with industry, the people who make these things work and they told you can't do it, you just can't do this, no other country in the world has done this, no other democracy has done this, it will set a dangerous precedent that may then be followed by less law abiding regimes."
However, even without the Snooper's Charter, Clegg said the government will push forward with plans to grant law enforcement increased IP address tracking powers.
"At the moment you've got more devices than there are IP addresses so it's very difficult for the police and security services when they've got an IP address and need to find who's using them. I think that's something we do need to crack and we're doing good work in government on that."
The IP tracking reforms come alongside a wider shift in Britain's Cyber Strategy. The Cyber Strategy was announced in 2011 when the UK government pledged to invest £650m to help improve the nation's cyber defences. The strategy has seen the creation of several new measures designed to help police combat cyber threats, including the creation of a new national cybercrime unit later this year.
At Infosec in London earlier in the year, Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit head Charlie McMurdie warned that even with the new powers police will need help from businesses to combat the growing number of cyber attacks targeting industry.
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