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Charities, policy and cybersecurity experts give evidence

18 December 2015

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In the first of the three sessions, the Committee looks at both sides of the argument from victims' perspective; how the Bill might help keep children and adults safe, but also how it might affect people's human rights and privacy. The second session examines the technical aspects of the Bill, and the final panel explores the impact of the Bill, the issue of oversight and whether the Bill is a proportionate and sensible proposal.


Monday 21 December in Committee Room 4, Palace of Westminster

At 2:15pm

  • Rachel Griffin, Director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  • Rachel Logan, Law and Human Rights Programme Director, Amnesty Intl UK
  • Alan Wardle, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children

At 3pm

  • Prof Bill Buchanan, Professor at the School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Eric King, expert in signals intelligence, surveillance technologies and intelligence agency practices
  • Erka Koivunen, Cyber Security Advisor at F-Secure Corporation

At 3.45pm

  • Robin Simcox, Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society
  • Professor Christopher Forsyth, Policy Exchange

Possible questions

Questions in the first session may include:

  • How would the Bill as drafted affect the capabilities of law enforcement? How proportionate and effective are law enforcement's current capabilities in detecting and dealing with crime?
  • Are there sufficient safeguards to the provisions in the draft Bill to minimise the risk that innocent peoples' communications data might be used inappropriately, either inadvertently or not? Are there sufficient safeguards governing the bulk powers?
  • Do the draft Bill's provisions on the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, in particular concerning the authorisation of warrants, provide adequately enhanced safeguards? How effectively does the Investigatory Powers Tribunal provide a route for appeal and remedy? Do you welcome the new route of appeal from the IPT?
  • Do any of the provisions in the Bill risk undermining forms of encrypted communication? Would the potential value of it doing so, in limiting criminals' ability to communicate secretly, have any unintended consequences for victims of stalking or online abuse who may have legitimate reasons for using encrypted services?

Questions in the second session may include:

  • Are the definitions of communications data in the Bill – as "Entities" and "Events" – sufficiently clear? Are these definitions workable in practice?
  • How easy is to separate communications data from content? What sort of equipment and costs are likely to be involved?
  • How feasible is it for Communications Services Providers to hold 12 months' worth of communications data and Internet Connection Records? What are the security and privacy implications of these large data stores?
  • Is it reasonable and practical to require Communication Services Providers to remove the 'electronic protections' from their data when providing it to law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies?
  • What are the risks and benefits of allowing law enforcement the agencies to undertake equipment interference? Is equipment interference an appropriate response to the rise in encrypted communications?

Questions in the third session may include:

  • Does the draft Bill strike the right balance between privacy and security? If not, how could it be improved?
  • What is the correct balance between the respective roles of Ministers and Judicial Commissioners in the authorisation of warrants?
  • Does the draft Bill provide sufficient protection for legally privileged and journalists' communications?
  • What additional protection does the enshrining of the Wilson doctrine in statute give the members of the relevant legislatures? Is this sufficient protection, particularly for members who are of a different political persuasion to the Prime Minister?

Further information

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