Speak tech to power! 10 days to submit technical evidence on Investigatory Powers Bill!

The British Parliament's Science and Technology Committee has opened a short inquiry into the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. This committee will be one of only a handful calling for evidence on the new UK surveillance law and importantly the only one whose mandate is focussed on just the the technology aspects of Government policy.

If you're technically minded, and concerned about mass surveillance, backdoored encryption or suspicionless hacking now is the time to act! Written submissions need to be sent by Friday 27 November, meaning there are just 10 days to submit!

What are the committee interested in?

The Committee says:

The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is, in large part, a response to advances in communications, particularly over the internet. Confidence in commerce depends on reliable encryption. The boundaries between content and communications data are becoming blurred. The consequences for privacy, proportionality and data security will be explored by the Committee in the context of the rapidly changing technological landscape – and the need to fight terrorism and crime.

The Committee is looking for evidence on, (1) The technical feasibility and costs of meeting the obligations imposed by the Bill; (2) The impact on communications service providers and related businesses; (3) The likely consequences for citizen/consumer use of ICT services. More specific issues of interest to the Committee include the extent to which communications data and communications content can be separated and the extent to which this is reflected in the Draft Bill. Comments are also invited on any specific technologies that have a direct bearing on the operation and effectiveness of the measures in the Draft Bill. These include, but are not restricted to, encryption, bulk data collection, cloud computing, deep packet inspection and anonymous internet communication systems.

If you're short of time, or trying to work out what to submit, Don't Spy On Us suggest focussing on the:

  • technical feasibility of Internet Connection Records
  • cost of implementing Internet Connection Records
  • implications of law enforcement hacking for forensic evidence
  • cyber-security issues surrounding intelligence services hacking companies
  • cyber-security risks of forcing companies to retain large quantities of sensitive data
  • concerns around stockpiling of zero days

What else do I need to know?

The Committee has held an oral evidence session which can be streamed online for background knowledge. To familiarise yourself with how evidence can be best formatted, consider reading submissions to other parliamentary committee's on previously proposed UK surveillance policy.

The committee has asked that submission should: (a) be in Word format with as little use logos as possible, (b) have numbered paragraphs, (c) include a declaration of interests. The full rule guidelines for individuals and organisations giving written evidence is also available online. Please do follow them carefully.

Submissions can be made using the online form.

If you are considering sending in a submission, and would like advice, you can email eric@dontspyonus.org.uk

Other links:

Investigatory Powers Bill: technology issues inquiry

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