- House of Lords briefing
The House of Lords starts to debate the Investigatory Powers Bill on Monday 11th June.
We've sent this Don't Spy on Us briefing to members of the House of Lords. Read it in full as a PDF here.
Investigatory Powers Bill
How to make it fit-for-purpose
The Don’t Spy on Us (DSOU) coalition agrees with the Government, law enforcement agencies and secret services that a major reform of the UK’s surveillance laws is required. In 2014, The Government’s Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation described the current system as “undemocratic, unnecessary and – in the long run – intolerable.” The Investigatory Powers Bill (IP Bill) brings together many of the powers that law enforcement and the intelligence agencies can use to obtain communications and communications data into one piece of legislation. However, as drafted, it perpetuates rather than remedies these flaws.
The draft Bill was scrutinised by a Joint Committee, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and the Science and Technology Committee, who between them heard evidence from a range of experts, including representatives from the technology industry, civil liberties organisations, charities, the police, the Home Office and the security services. In total, these three reports made 123 recommendations.
During the House of Commons Committee stage, the Bill was amended. But many of the recommendations raised by the committees and by MPs have not been addressed. This is of grave concern; the IP Bill is a comprehensive law with far reaching consequences for UK citizens and individuals across the world. It needs full and proper scrutiny.
Despite the Government’s claims to the contrary, the IP Bill does extend surveillance powers. Over 30 submissions to the Joint Committee make the case that the Bill expands the powers of the agencies in important ways, including proposals that would record the Internet browsing activity of UK citizens.
This report aims to give Peers a clear summary of the risks and threats posed by the IP Bill, based on the committees’ reports and the evidence submitted to them. We also identify where the Bill should be amended further to make sure the UK has a surveillance law ft for a democracy, not an authoritarian state.