The Court of Appeal gave its¬†judgment this morning on the¬†Government’s appeal against the Divisional Court’s ruling in July in a claim for judicial review of DRIPA 2014, brought by David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP.¬† The ruling had been eagerly awaited by students of the Investigatory Powers Bill.

In summary, the judgment changes the legal weather around the bulk retention of (and access to) communications data, in a way that the Government will welcome.  But the Court of Appeal has deferred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a final determination of the issues.  Even with the expedition that has been sought, it must be doubtful whether that will be obtained before the scheduled enactment of the Investigatory Powers Bill in late 2016.

Here is the judgment: Read more…

The Investigatory Powers Bill was published today in draft, together with explanatory notes and¬†an unprecedented volume of impact assessments, factsheets and other “overarching documents“.

One of the reports that contributed to the draft Bill was “A Question of Trust“, the report of my Investigatory Powers Review that was published in June 2015.¬† Other reports were produced in March 2015 by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament and in July 2015 by¬†the Royal United Services Institute.¬† All have left their mark on the Bill.

The¬†best¬†thing¬†about the¬†draft Bill is that it puts Parliament in charge.¬† For the first time, we have a Bill that sets out, for public and political debate,¬†the totality of the¬†investigatory powers¬†used or aspired to by police and intelligence agencies.¬† The list includes: Read more…

The Home Secretary announced to Parliament on 10 July that I had been asked, with all-party support, to lead a review before the General Election, in the light of the threat picture, of

  • the capabilities and powers required by law enforcement and the security intelligence agencies, and
  • the regulatory framework within which those capabilities and powers should be exercised.

My report will be submitted to the Prime Minister, who will lay it before Parliament on receipt.

The published terms of reference for the review are here, and¬†it was given statutory force in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014.¬† Following the wording in section 7, it will be known as the Investigatory Powers Review. Read more…

It’s been an exciting¬†day in the usually sober world of terrorism law review.

Communications Data and Interception Powers Review

Late last night, the Government published the terms of reference of a wide-ranging review that I have been asked to conduct, by May 2015, into the areas of communications data and interception powers.  To be given statutory backing in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill currently speeding through Parliament, this review will address two sensitive and politically controversial issues: possible reform of RIPA, and whether further powers are required over communications data.  It was commissioned with all-party support and is intended to help develop policy in this area after the General Election.  I am putting together the resources I need and will make a call for evidence in due course.

Replacement of the Independent Reviewer

Of longer-term significance, announced at the same time, is the proposed future replacement of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation by a new¬†Independent¬†Privacy and Civil Liberties Board.¬† Read more…