Draft Investigatory Powers Bill – the key points and link to the full text

The Guardian has helpfully just published this handy guide to the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, just announced in parliament by Teresa May:

  • Requires web and phone companies to store records of websites visited by every citizen for 12 months for access by police, security services and other public bodies.
  • Makes explicit in law for the first time security services’ powers for the “bulk collection” of large volumes of personal communications data.
  • Makes explicit in law for the first time the powers of the security services and police to hack into and bug computers and phones. Places new legal obligation on companies to assist in these operations to bypass encryption.
  • New “double-lock” on ministerial authorisation of intercept warrants with a panel of seven judicial commissioners given power of veto. But exemptions allowed in ‘urgent cases’ of up to five days.
  • Existing system of three oversight commissioners replaced with single investigatory powers commissioner who will be a senior judge.
  • Prime minister to be consulted in all cases involving interception of MPs’ communications. Safeguards on requests for communications data in other ”sensitive professions” such as journalists to be written into law.

The full text of they draft bill is available here on the government’s website.

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13 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 4th Nov '15 - 1:47pm

    Questions by Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister, were particularly relevant because he had access to the same information on security that the Prime Minister had and chaired the Cabinet subcommittee on Home Affairs, of which the Home Secretary was a member.

  • PHIL THOMAS 4th Nov '15 - 2:14pm

    Once again today at PMQ’s only Lamb present in the Chamber. The Parliamentary Party is a complete and utter shambles. Where was Tim Farron ? He is supposed to be the Leader and should be there every week.

  • @ Phil

    Hopefully Tim was doing something useful not sitting around passively providing an audience for the Dave v Jez show. Tim is only allowed to ask questions once every three weeks and this week was not one of those weeks.

  • >”… records of websites…access by police, security services and other public bodies.”

    Just to clarify the particular point “other public bodies”, this is a catch-all to allow the government to expand the list without further legislation, however, local authorities will be explicitly banned from gaining access to these records (referred to in the bill as Internet Communication Records or ICRs)…

    So it does seem to have limited to some extent who the ‘snoopers’ might be.

    However, to put this into context, if you are using a computing platform such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Windows 10 ‘free edition, you’ve most probably already agreed to allow these (US-based) companies access to your internet communications and potentially (in the case of Win10) all the all information you key-in and retain on your hard disk…

  • Dave Orbison 4th Nov '15 - 6:53pm

    Phil Thomas – I fully agree. PMQ’s may be a dreadful waste of time but it gives the parties an opportunity to be seen. The no show approach of LibDems from week to week gives the impression that the parliamentary party has no cohesion and couldn’t care less. It is not a good look and is hardly the best way of reminding people that the LibDems exist. It looks as if they have just given up.

  • Yes it does seem that this draft bill essentially proposes to give the police and GCHQ the powers to do legally what they had been doing illegally for years, with the improvement of bringing various powers and ‘rights’ together in a single bill.

    The concerning thing isn’t so much what the bill does contain but what effect this action of legalizing GCHQ’s mass data collection activities will have. It is worth bearing in mind that GCHQ has worked hard to keep the full extent of its mass surveillance activities out of sight and away from public scrutiny (see: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden ).

  • Allan Brame 4th Nov '15 - 9:20pm

    Phil Thomas and Dave Orbison
    The likelihood is that the cameras would not even show Tim if he sat mutely listening to Cameron and Corbyn. If they did, many viewers would just wonder why he had nothing to say. Better off doing something more useful.

  • Dave Orbison 4th Nov '15 - 11:04pm

    Allan you could apply the same logic you use to all parties and suggest 95% of MPs may as well not be there. But if Tim Farron plus 7 are not seen in HofC then it does nothing to remind voters that the LibDems still exist. Also you may excuse the absence on the basis that Farron +7 are doing something more worthwhile but others may just conclude they can’t be bothered. LDV contributors are asking where is the Parliamentary party are so the public are bound to be asking the same question.

  • David Evans 5th Nov '15 - 10:22am

    To anyone who has noticed that Tim is not in parliament every week for PMQs, I would suggest they stop wasting their time watching TV and get out rebuilding the party from its very foundations up like Tim is doing. We stopped being a big party on 7th May and its back to basics now.

  • > get out rebuilding the party from its very foundations up like Tim is doing.

    Arrh! that’s the reason Tim is spending so much time out of the country visiting migrants and wanting the UK to take more…

  • Sadly, by not being there, Tim leaves himself open to a Cameron one liner…

    As used by teachers, since the year dot, to put down a questioner…”Had you taken the trouble to attend last week/lesson you would have heard me cover the subject”….

  • Richard Underhill 5th Nov '15 - 2:10pm

    There is a committee in which all the members are chairs of other committees and the Prime Minister is the only witness.
    It was previously chaired by Alan Beith MP. The quality of debate was higher and there were fewer mentions of Basildon.
    This committee should meet more often, for longer and get more publicity.

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