the laws allow police to target anyone who "elicits or attempts to elicit information" about members of the armed forces, security services, or police which is "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".
sentences can range from fines to up to 10 years imprisonment.
despite some half-hearted assurance from the home office, it is feared that the new legislation will be used to confiscate equipment and stills/footage that the police may feel uncomfortable about.
clearly if used in this way, there will be test cases that may reign back any misuse of these powers, but in the meantime there may be a chilling effect on citizen journalism and further oppression on the streets.
with the G20 meeting planned at the excel centre in april, the continuing resistance to a new heathrow runway, and the failure of government to act against the banks or to stop the blockade of gaza, there are any number of flashpoints for public unrest in the coming months, and any restrictions on free reporting are a danger to true democracy, civil rights and justice.
short film of the event with mark thomas interview at london indymedia site