In 2014 the Government asked the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, to conduct a review into the operation and regulation of law enforcement and agency investigatory powers, with specific reference to the interception of communications and communications data. David Anderson has completed that review and I am pleased to be publishing his report today. I can confirm that no redactions have been made to the report.
I am very grateful to David Anderson for a thorough and comprehensive report. The Government’s intention is to bring forward legislation relating to the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies’ use of investigatory powers and to have that legislation enacted before the sunset provision in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 takes effect on 31 December 2016.
The Government will take full account of David Anderson’s report, which I believe offers a firm basis for consulting on our new legislation. The Government will need to give further consideration to the detail of both David Anderson’s recommendations and those in the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Privacy and Security report published in March, before we develop our proposals. But this report is a very important and valuable contribution to the continuing debate about the role of the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies, their use of investigatory powers and their oversight. The Anderson review was taken forward with cross-party support and I believe that it should help us continue to take this issue forward on the basis of cross-party consensus. The Government’s proposals will be brought forward for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of Parliament in the autumn.
As David Anderson’s Report highlights, there are a range of threats against the UK and its interests, from terrorism, both at home and overseas, to cyber attacks from criminals. Many groups, not just the Government, have a role to play in ensuring the right capabilities are in place to tackle those threats. It is particularly important to engage Communications Service Providers in developing solutions, given the technology supporting modern communications. That is why I appointed Sir Nigel Sheinwald as my data envoy to engage with industry and others to explore the possibilities for a sustainable long-term basis for providing data when it is needed to protect our security. In parallel to new legislation, the Government will be taking forward Sir Nigel’s advice, including pursuing a strengthened UK-US Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process and a new international framework. As David Anderson recognises in his report, updated powers, and robust oversight, will need to form the legal basis of any new international arrangements. We will continue to work closely with the companies to take all these issues forward.