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UK mulls new laws to protect against 'hostile' countries like Russia, China -- Reports

19/04/2021 05:01 PM

MOSCOW, April 19  -- The United Kingdom government plans to introduce a new law that will obligate people working on behalf of foreign governments in the UK to register their presence, in an attempt to protect the country from "hostile states" such as Russia and China, Sputnik quoted media report Monday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce the bill on the day of the Queen's Speech, May 11, the Times reported. Under the new law, the refusal to register will be considered a criminal offence.

The Official Secrets Act will also be amended so that it can be applied in cases where individuals "try to undermine Britain's interest from abroad," the newspaper reports. These include hack attacks conducted on behalf of "hostile states." As of now the law only applies to British citizens who reside abroad.

The new concept will be similar to that operating in the United States, where foreign agents must undergo compulsory registration with the Department of Justice as well as periodically submit reports of their activities.

Current laws in the UK only allow the prosecution of foreign spies if they are caught red-handed obtaining state secrets.

The reports come after the release of a statement by the UK and US on April 15, stating that both countries "attributed a cyber attack to the Russian intelligence service" on the SolarWinds compromise. The UK said it would do anything in its power to protect the country from "Russia's attempts to destabilise our societies."

Moscow and Beijing have consistently denied a role in any such activities.




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