So the controversial Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill has been fast tracked through Parliament and now passes into law. First we got to hear about it was on 10th July 2014 when it was first published. The House of Lords passed it without amendment and it went into law overnight following royal assent given not long after. It expires at the end of 2016.
Is the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill a good thing?
The need for the Government to fast track the Bill follows a European Court of Justice judgement, on 8th April, which declared the European Data Retention Directive as invalid. This judgement has left the UK needing to ensure that the communications companies in the UK carry on retaining key information, known as communications data, so that it continues to be available when it is needed by law enforcement agencies and others to investigate crime and protect the public. They cite a few high profile cases where use of this data has made a significant contribution to securing a conviction. This Bill therefore clarifies the law, without extending the current powers, and makes it clear that anybody who provides a communication service to UK customers would also be expected to comply with any lawful requests. This includes those outside of the UK, such as Google and Facebook, to retain buy real adipex p information if the customer is based in the UK.
Interestingly, the following public bodies will now lose the right to acquire communications data:
- Charity Commission
- Civil Nuclear Constabulary
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland)
- Department of Business Innovation and Skills
- Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs
- Department of Environment (Northern Ireland)
- Environment Agency
- Food Standards Agency
- Pensions Regulator
- Port of Dover Police
- Port of Liverpool Police
- Royal Mail
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency
How will it affect you?
Well if you’re not a criminal, probably not very much if at all. There is no effective change to the previous powers. If you are under investigation by one of the Government bodies who are permitted to gain access to your digital communications foot print, then evidence can continue to be legally gathered against you.
Watch out for more debate and movement on this temporary measure as there are many who are unhappy that this has been pushed through so rapidly. The House of Lords’ constitutional committee warned that the bill handed the Home Secretary extraordinary new powers to expand future surveillance systems without having to put it to a vote. Lord King, former British Airways chairman, said in the debate. “One is right to be deeply suspicious of emergency legislation that appears in this way.”