The House of Lords Constitution Committee has today reported on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, saying that the fast-tracking of the bill “is a matter of concern”.
The bill has been introduced in response to a judgment of the European Court of Justice on data retention. The committee accepts the need urgently to legislate in this area but points out that the Government have had since early April to respond to the judgment but that between then and 10 July they did not indicate that fast-track legislation might be necessary.
The committee goes on to consider the details of the bill. The report says that, while the Government have said the bill does not enhance data retention powers, the bill gives broad powers to the Secretary of State. The committee says it is not clear what would “prevent the Secretary of State using clause 1(3) to enhance data retention powers.”
The committee also draws attention to clauses 3 to 7, which amend the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 so as to confirm that its provisions have extraterritorial effect. The report says that as these clauses are not related to the European Court of Justice judgment the need for them to be fast-tracked in this bill is not clear.