The report of my Bulk Powers Review, which I delivered to the Prime Minister on 7 August, was published to Parliament (in unaltered form, and without redactions or confidential annex) at 11 am today.

Web and print versions of the report are on the website, and a PDF copy of the report is here: Bulk Powers Review Рfinal report.  It begins with a 1-page Executive Summary.   The document speaks for itself, and I will not be doing any media around the launch.

I would emphasise the following points: Read more…

Scope of the Review

As widely reported, I have been asked to follow up my 2015 report A Question of Trust (AQOT) by conducting a¬†review into the operational case for the four¬† bulk collection powers provided for in Parts 6 and 7 of the Investigatory Powers Bill for the use of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (“the Agencies”).¬†¬† Those powers relate to bulk interception, bulk acquisition, bulk equipment interference and bulk personal datasets, and are summarised in an Operational Case laid before Parliament on 1 March alongside¬†the Bill. Read more…

A House of Commons Public Bill Committee has been set up in order to give detailed scrutiny to the Investigatory Powers Bill that was unveiled on 1 March 2016 and given its second reading on 15 March.  A good deal of written evidence to that committee was published last week.

I was the first witness to be examined by the Public Bill Committee, on 24 March 2016.¬†¬†A¬† transcript of my 25-minute evidence has been published on the Committee’s website, and¬†most of it is captured on¬†video.

Later on 24 March, I submitted written evidence to the Public Bill Committee in order to¬†expand¬†upon some of the points touched on in my oral evidence and to raise some new points.¬† That written evidence is published here for the first time. Read more…

The Investigatory Powers Bill is a comprehensive rewriting of UK law on interception of communications, retention and access of communications data and related subjects.

The documents associated with the Bill are numerous.

This 4-page guide has links to the principal documents, ranging from the 2012 precursor of the draft Bill and the three independent reports that formed its basis, through the painstaking process of pre-legislative scrutiny, to the Bill introduced to Parliament last week.  It includes links to everything I have written on the topic to date, but does not attempt to do justice to the many fine commentaries from others.

I prepared it for this conference, at King’s College London later in the week.

This article, with headline comments on the Investigatory Powers Bill, appeared in the Daily Telegraph on the day after the Bill was launched.

To help track the Bill, a basic guide to the parliamentary process is here.

As sharp-eyed commentators have noted, the launch of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill on 4 November was accompanied by a significant avowal.  This related to the use by intelligence agencies (but not the police) of a bulk collection power, applicable to communications data but not to content or internet connection records, under s94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984.  The operation of that power had never been made public.

A number of people have asked whether I was aware of this during my Investigatory Powers Review. 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…


“A Question of Trust”, the report of my Investigatory Powers Review under DRIPA 2014 s7, was laid before Parliament today.¬† It¬†can be accessed below¬†in print¬†and web accessible versions, together with the accompanying press release and (so far as the authors were willing for it to be published) the evidence submitted to the Review in writing.¬† The Report is also ¬†available¬†free¬†of charge from¬†the following¬†sites: