Information & Communication Technology

The UK Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

11 January 2016

In November 2015, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) published the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, a new piece of legislation to govern the use and oversight of surveillance by law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies. 

IHRB has submitted three sets of written comments on the draft Bill to three Parliamentary Committees: the Science and Technology Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Joint Committee. The various Committee's analysis will feed into the final version of the Bill, expected to be presented to Parliament in March 2016.  

These submissions outline IHRB's concerns on the extent of surveillance powers, the technical feasibility of powers sought, and the resulting impact on human rights such as privacy.

These comments include recommendations that the UK Government:

  • Clarify the definitions of telecommunications services and systems.
  • Further examine the compatibility of bulk powers provided for in the draft Bill with human rights standards, including bulk personal datasets.
  • Clarify the aim and feasibility of obliging telecommunication operators to retain Internet Connection Records (ICRs).
  • Clarify the procedure by which overseas operators are expected to comply with the extraterritorial provisions in the draft Bill, particularly provisions only concerning people and communications based outside of the UK, including bulk interception and bulk equipment interference.
  • In addition, we provide recommendations to strengthen the oversight mechanisms provided for in the draft Bill and access to remedy.

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