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    15 Years in Prison for Clicking on Terrorist Propaganda Even Once - New UK Law

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    Upon the adoption of a new legislation, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act "gives the police the powers they need to disrupt plots and punish those who seek to do us harm."

    The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 has received Royal Assent on 12 February, making the bill an Act of Parliament.

    The act makes provision in relation to terrorism, enabling persons at ports and borders to be questioned for national security and updating the offence of obtaining information likely to be useful to a terrorist to cover material that is only viewed or streamed, rather than downloaded to form a permanent record.

    The act sees to an increase to the maximum penalty for certain preparatory terrorism offences to 15 years' imprisonment.

    The UK government has been criticized by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, back in 2018. The inspector argued following his visit in the UK, that it was concerning that accessing propaganda "on three or more different occasions" was viewed as an offence. Cannataci called the approach straying towards "thought crime."

    The three-click benchmark has been removed in the new bill and now even a single tap on 'terrorist material' could lead to years in prison. Exemption is provided for journalists, academic researchers or people who had "no reason to believe" they were accessing terrorist propaganda.

    The Bill has also provided for a launch of an independent review of Prevent, the much criticized government's strategy that aims to support persons vulnerable to radicalisation.

    British intelligence services were condemned in 2018 for failing to properly monitor individuals of interest — later to be involved in terrorist activity — not under active investigation at the moment but in the peripheries of more than one investigation.

    Women light candles for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, May 23, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Darren Staples
    Women light candles for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, May 23, 2017.

    READ MORE: MI5 Made Mistakes Ahead of Manchester Bombing — Report

    In 2017, the United Kingdom suffered five terrorist attacks in Westminster, the Manchester Arena, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green, with 36 people losing their lives and dozens injured.

    Related:

    MI5 Made Mistakes Ahead of Manchester Bombing - Report
    New UK Anti-Terror Pilots: Sharing Data of 20,000 'Close Subjects of Interest'
    EXCLUSIVE: How Extremism Slips in and Out of British Prisons
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    Prevent strategy, propaganda, terrorism, United Kingdom
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