UK bill allowing for child spies is ‘really quite Orwellian’
Guidance on use of children undercover in covert intelligence bill has caused cross-party outcry.
Spy Kids: The new intelligence law allows CHILDREN to work as secret agents for local councils, anti-fraud bodies and even the gambling watchdog – and even shop their own parents.
Tory peers, bishops and crossbenchers could inflict defeat on the government after an outcry over new guidance which allows state agencies to use children as undercover spies as part of the government’s covert intelligence bill.
Labour sources said they believed there would be enough backing to ensure the bill is returned to the Commons, where it is hoped the government may accept some of the new safeguards.
The current guidance in the bill would allow children spying for government agencies to break the law if their actions would prevent or detect crime – and even permits those over the age of 16 to be recruited to inform on their parents if they are suspected of terror or criminal involvement.
It allows 22 state agencies, including the intelligence service, the military and the police, to use children as undercover agents, though there must be a senior executive overseeing
the operation. The measures are likely to be used in operations against “county lines” drug gangs, as well as investigating suspected terror plots.
Last year, the high court ruled police recruitment of children was lawful.
Anne Longfield, (pictured above) the children’s commissioner, called for the use of child spies to be banned.
‘I remain to be convinced that there is ever an appropriate situation in which a child should be used as a CHIS,’
‘This practice is not in the best interests of the child.’
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