Home Secretary to appear before Draft Investigatory Powers Bill Committee

11 January 2016

In the final evidence session of its inquiry, the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill will hear from the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, on Wednesday 13 January.

The Committee is likely to question the Home Secretary on all aspects of the Bill, including:

Communications Data

  • Does the value of communications data outweigh the privacy risks associated with the accessing of such data? What steps can be taken to minimise such risks?
  • Should communications data definitions be specified further? Should a prescribed list of what defines communications data be published in a statutory code?

Internet Connection Records

  • Given the Home Office’s additional information about Internet Connection Records (ICRs), is she confident that ISPs and CSPs will agree that the definition and description of ICRs are now clear?

Data Retention

  • If the Home Office does not intend small ISPs to be served with data retention notices, what steps will they take to provide clarity?
  • Why does the current definition of telecommunications providers and services potentially include Wi-Fi services operated by coffee shops and hotels, and do you think it should?
  • On what basis does the Home Office believe that the bulk powers will be seen as legal in the context of recent EU Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights decisions?
  • Given the lack of clarity over the nature of Bulk Personal Datasets, would it be possible to exclude specific sets of data from the Bulk Personal Data regime?


  • If it is the case that the Judicial Commissioner will be applying the same tests as the Secretary of State, why does the draft Bill specify the judicial review test as the one that Judicial Commissioners will be applying?
  • Why are modifications of warrants not subject to judicial authorisation and what safeguards exist?
  • Should technical capability and national security notices, in view of their importance, be subject to the ‘double lock’ procedure?
  • Why are safeguards for sharing material overseas weaker than for domestic sharing and why is the authorisation system weaker?
  • Why does the draft Bill weaken the protection given to journalistic sources under PACE and the Terrorism Act?


  • Why are Judicial Commissioners not appointed under the standard conditions for senior judges, and how can you avoid the appearance which this might create of reduced independence from the executive?
  • Do the powers of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner need to be rethought to ensure the IPC can carry out the oversight aspects of the role adequately?

The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill would provide a framework for the use of investigatory powers by law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies, as well as other public authorities, and includes provisions for the interception of communications, the retention and acquisition of communications data, the use of equipment interference, and the acquisition of bulk data for analysis.

The evidence session will take place on Wednesday 13 January at 4.15pm in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords.

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