David Davis comments on the Intelligence and Security Committee report on the draft Investiatory Powers Bill


This morning the Intelligence and Security Committee have published their report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

The report is critical of the Government’s draft legislation, in particular expressing disappointment that the draft Bill does not cover all the Agencies’ intrusive capabilities, that privacy protections are inconsistent and in need of strengthening, and that the provisions in relation to three of the key agency capabilities – Equipment Interference, Bulk Personal Datasets and Communications Data – are too broad and lack sufficient clarity.

In response to the report Sir David Davis said:

“It is clear that the Government has not given sufficient time and thought to this complex and controversial area. Time and time again surveillance powers have been subject to rushed and inadequate legislation, and as the ISC have warned we are in danger of the same thing happening here.

This rushed approach is clear from the draft legislation. The authorisation procedures lack clarity and consistency, some of the powers being granted to the intelligence agencies are too broad and poorly defined, and there is very little consideration given to private individuals whose privacy will be significantly impacted by this Bill.

It is particularly worrying that the intelligence agencies were unable to justify their need for some of the most intrusive powers, such as bulk equipment interference and class bulk personal datasets, to the Committee. These powers have the potential to significantly impact on the privacy and security of everyone in this country, and it is staggering that the agencies were unable to properly justify their inclusion in the draft Bill.

In total this report is damning; it shows that the legislation is rushed and ill-thought through, the powers being granted to the agencies are excessive, and in some cases unjustified, and that the proposed safeguards are weak and inconsistent.

The Committee is absolutely right to say that this is a significant missed opportunity.”