Joint Briefing on Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill [HL]

The UK England Chapter of the Internet Society has joined the Internet Society as well as Big Brother Watch, The Open Rights Group, Privacy International, Liberty and Rights & Security International in drafting a briefing that was distributed to Lords prior to the Report Hearing at the House of Lords on 23 January 2024.

The original Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA) is highly controversial in that it authorised massive, suspicionless surveillance on a scale never seen before, with few safeguards or independent oversight. The Amendments Bill consists of several major amendments such as:

  • permitting the harvesting and processing of internet connection records (meta-data) for generalised, massive surveillance;
  • weakening safeguards when intelligence services collect bulk datasets of personal information, potentially allowing them to harvest millions of facial images and social media data;
  • expanding the range of people who can authorise the surveillance of parliamentarians;
  • forcing any technology company conducting business in the UK, to inform the government of any plans to improve security or privacy measures on their platforms. This would result in the Government being able to issue a notice to prevent such changes – thus weakening security of services on the Internet.

Here is the Joint Briefing, distributed to Parliamentarians:

This Bill is currently going through Parliamentary procedure at the same time as a Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and OFCOM’s implementation of the Online Safety Act.

Together these Bills are being pushed through Parliament at a rate this produces poor Parliamentary Procedure. For example the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has issued a call for evidence that closed one day before the 23 January 24 hearing and was thus not made available to Lords attending the Report Stage.

The Internet Society UK Chapter and the Internet Society produced a Joint response to this call for evidence, which you can read here.