The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 has received Royal Assent on 12 February, making the bill an Act of Parliament.
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.
Today the Counter Terrorism & Border Security Act became law. It will keep us safer by:— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) February 12, 2019
🔸giving police new powers to investigate hostile state activity
🔸strengthening tools to tackle the threat of foreign fighters
🔸increasing sentences for those involved in terrorism
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.
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.