The Home Office has refused a freedom of information request asking for more details about the estimated costs of the draft Communications Data Bill.
The FOI request, filed by Zoe O’Connell, asked for “copies of the documents used in calculating the estimated the costs of ‘£1.8 billion over ten years’”. It was refused on the grounds of “national security interests and law enforcement”.
Information withheld includes details of how the Communications Capability Development programme intends to maintain access to communications data for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime and safeguarding national security. The information relating to UK capabilities is considered to pose an unacceptable risk to the ability of the UK to safeguard national security; the disclosure of this could be used to avoid detection. — Home Office FOI response
However, the Home Office did reveal that the £1.8bn figure is likely to be revised.
The programme business case is currently undergoing a formal regular review which will produce revised costs and benefits.
The revised business case will inform a new Impact Assessment to be published before the Communications Data Bill is introduced formally in the House. Parliament will then have the opportunity to consider again the latest costs and benefits of the programme enabled by the Bill.
Hat tip to The Register