Monday, 28 March 2016

Reasons why we need the Investigatory Powers Bill - these highly scrutinised powers are needed

This is part of our commitment to providing a new law consolidating and updating our investigatory powers, strengthening the safeguards, and establishing a world-leading oversight regime.
We live in a digital age. Technology is having a profound effect on society. Computers are central to our everyday lives. Big data is reshaping the way we live and work. The internet has brought us tremendous opportunities to prosper and interact with others. 
But a digital society also presents us with challenges. The same benefits enjoyed by us all are being exploited by serious and organised criminals, online fraudsters and terrorists. The threat is clear. In the past twelve months alone six significant terrorist plots have been disrupted here in the UK, as well as a number of further plots overseas.  The frequency and cost of cyber attacks is increasing, with 90% of large organisations suffering an information security breach last year. And the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command estimate that there are 50,000 people in this country downloading indecent images of children; the bill will allow:
  • The ability to intercept the contents of communications in order to acquire sensitive intelligence to tackle terrorist plots and serious and organised crimes;
  • The use of equipment interference powers to obtain data covertly from computers;
  • And the use of these powers by the security and intelligence agencies in bulk to identify the most serious threats to the UK from overseas and to rapidly establish links between suspects in the UK.
    It cannot be right that today the police could find an abducted child if the 
    suspects were using mobile phones to coordinate their crime, but if they were using social media or communications apps then they would be out of reach. Such an approach defies all logic and ignores the realities of today’s digital age. So this Bill will also allow the police to identify which communications services a person or device has connected to – so called internet connection records. The oversight will be with a powerful and independent Investigatory Powers Commissioner. This will be a senior judge, supported by a team of expert inspectors with the authority and resources to effectively, and visibly, hold the intelligence agencies and law enforcement to account. These will be world-leading oversight arrangements. The First duty of Government is the protection of the public – and it is a responsibility this government takes extremely seriously.
    The legislation we are proposing is unprecedented. It will provide unparalleled openness and transparency about our investigatory powers. It will provide the strongest safeguards and world-leading oversight arrangements. And it will give the men and women of our security and intelligence agencies and our law enforcement agencies – who do so much to keep us safe and secure – the powers they need to protect our country.
    More details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/473770/Draft_Investigatory_Powers_Bill.pdf

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