Investigatory Powers Bill
I appreciate that a number of organisations and campaigns have expressed a range of views over this legislation.
It is of course vital that there is an up-to-date and comprehensive legal framework to enable the police and security services to have the powers they need in the digital age to prevent and investigate serious crime.
However, I have also consistently believed that strong powers must be balanced with strong safeguards to protect privacy and long-held liberties. Indeed, the Snowden revelations highlighted that a clearer legal basis, greater transparency and more tightly drawn definitions of all powers and capabilities were needed.
My colleagues in the Shadow Home Office team took a responsible and constructive approach to this legislation, securing several important concessions from the Government during the Bill’s passage through Parliament. These concessions included the introduction of a new overarching privacy requirement, a requirement for Judicial Commissioners to scrutinise the decision to issue a warrant and not just the process, and a higher access threshold for internet connection records (ICRs).
The Bill has now completed its passage of Parliament and received Royal Assent, becoming an Act of Parliament. The Government has a majority of MPs and are almost always successful in having their legislation passed. I appreciate that not everyone will be happy with the Investigatory Powers Act and be assured that I understand constituents’ concerns about it, however the Opposition did secure important concessions to safeguard privacy and liberties, when it would not have been possible for us to have succeeded in blocking the Bill’s passage.