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Joint Committee publishes Draft Investigatory Powers Bill report

Posted by Sam Frances on Friday, February 12th, 2016 at 18:39

The Joint Committee on the Investigatory Powers Bill published its long-awaited report yesterday, making a total of 86 recommendations for improvement.

Key recommendations include:

  • That the drafting of the Bill should make clear “the intention of the Government’s policy to seek access to protected communications and data when required by a warrant, while not requiring encryption keys to be compromised or backdoors installed on to systems”.
  • That “if bulk powers are to be included in the Bill, a fuller justification for each should also be published alongside the Bill”.
  • That the government do more to “conclusively prove the case” for Internet Connection Records.
  • That another joint committee should “review the operation of the powers in the Bill five years after its enacted”.

The report references LINX’s evidence to the Committee a number of times.

The Committee recommends that the government undertake further consultation to clarify the definitions of communications data and content, referencing LINX’s evidence in support of this recommendation.

70. LINX explained that the definition of entities had its roots in the “subscriber data” de nition in RIPA, which in practice meant “the information that a telecommunications operator held about their customer, such as their name and address, and other relatively unintrusive information regarding the services taken and billing.” They argued that new term “entity data” was “exceptionally broad” as it no longer referred only to customers, but could include anyone interacting over a telecommunications operator’s network. LINX also suggested that the breadth of “entity data” would be wider still due to the new de nition of telecommunications operators.

The report quotes at length LINX’s characterisation of the Request Filter as:

an enormously powerful and intrusive new investigatory tool that brings the power of Big Data analysis to law enforcement investigation on an unprecedented scale

Our concerns over third-party data were also referenced, and the Committee recommends that the government should refine the definition of “relevant communications data” to address these concerns. Our support for the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) system was also noted.

With over 770 members connecting from over 76 different countries worldwide, LINX members have access to direct routes from a large number of diverse international peering partners.

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