I was required by DRIPA 2014, which passed through Parliament in only four days back in July 2014, to conduct an independent review of the operation and regulation of investigatory powers, with specific reference to the interception of communications and communications data, including under RIPA.¬† That review was¬†distinct from¬†my normal function of reviewing the operation of the terrorism laws.
Parliament asked me, in particular, to consider:
“(a) current and future threats to the United Kingdom,
(b) the capabilities needed to combat those threats,
(c) safeguards to protect privacy,
(d) the challenges of changing technologies,
(e) issues relating to transparency and oversight,
(f) the effectiveness of existing legislation (including its proportionality) and the case for new or amending legislation.”
As I tweeted at the time, my report was completed and submitted to the Prime Minister on 6 May 2015 – the day before the General Election.¬† A process of security-checking and preparation for publication has followed.
Given the size of the canvas¬†that the Review¬†was asked to cover, it¬†will come as¬†no surprise¬†that it¬†turned out to be¬†a substantial piece of work.¬†¬†I am grateful to all who provided¬†written submissions and who met with me in various parts of the UK, Berlin, California, Washington DC, Ottawa and Brussels, as well as to the small team of self-employed persons that assisted with the Review.
I am¬†asked several times a day when the report will be published.¬† The short answer is that the Prime Minister will decide, and that I have no privileged insight into the¬†timing.
DRIPA 2014 s7(5) requires¬†the Prime Minister¬†to lay a copy before Parliament “on receiving” the Report, together with a statement¬†as to whether he has excluded any matter from the Report on the grounds that it would be contrary to the public interest or¬†to national security.¬†¬†Similar wording governs the publication of my Terrorism Acts reports, and¬†has been¬†helpfully glossed by James Brokenshire MP,¬†formerly the Security Minister: see my 2012 Terrorism Acts report at 1.23-1.25.
The Report¬†won’t please everybody (indeed it may not please anybody).¬† But if it succeeds in informing the public and parliamentary debate on the future of the law, from an¬†independent perspective, it will have done its job.
Kindly¬†direct any further queries concerning the publication date to the Government: if¬†you approach¬†me, I will be able to do no more than direct you to this post.