Commenting on today's report by the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, Antony Walker, techUK Deputy CEO, commented:
“We've now had three Parliamentary reports raising serious concerns with this draft Bill. On vital issues like encryption, internet connection records, bulk equipment interference powers and extraterritorial reach all three reports have said that there are still too many aspects that are unclear, poorly defined or just wrong. The Home Office must recognise this and address the fundamental concerns raised by expert witnesses, MPs and Lords.
“We fully support the objective to create a clear legal framework for investigatory powers that is worthy of emulation around the world. This is achievable only if the government takes on board some of the key recommendations that have been set out by these three Parliamentary reports, however, with an additional recess now expected for an EU referendum there is a real concern about the time left to get this right and ensure the proper parliamentary scrutiny.
Internet Connection Records (ICRs)
“All three reports acknowledged that it is not clear what ICRs are and that there are significant security risks in retaining such sensitive data. The Home Office needs to provide a much clearer definition so that Parliament can make a proper assessment of the technical feasibility and proportionality of these significant and intrusive powers.
“We have welcomed the Government’s commitment not to weaken encryption, or restrict the use of end-to-end encryption, but this must be laid out on the face of the Bill. The Science and Technology Select Committee, ISC and Joint Committee all agree on this point.”
“The draft Bill includes powers that broadly and unilaterally assert UK jurisdiction overseas, create conflicting legal obligations for companies, infringe on the sovereign rights of other governments and risk retaliatory action against UK companies operating abroad. The provisions in the Bill are not consistent with the recommendations made in the report to the Prime Minister by Sir Nigel Sheinwald and the Joint Committee is right to urge the Government to re-double its effort” to implement his recommendations.”
Bulk equipment interference
“All three committees have raised concerns about equipment interference and the ISC said that bulk Equipment Interference powers are not necessary and should be removed from the Bill. The Home Office must look again at the case for bulk equipment interference and the risks these powers could present for the UK’s wider cyber security.
Codes of practice
“Reports from the Joint Committee, ISC and Science and Tech committee have all supported our call for the Codes of Practice to be published alongside the Bill. This is vital if the tech industry is to fully understand what is being asked of them and how it will impact their customers and their business.”