Published by the House of Commons library: BRIEFING PAPER Number 7371, 19 November 2015 Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
And from the Open Rights Group: INVESTIGATORY POWERS BILL: EMAIL YOUR MP
The Government's released its draft Investigatory Powers Bill. While we welcome the improved clarity in the Bill, there is much to be concerned about.
What should I say to my MP? What's worrying in the Bill?
ISPs will be forced to keep records of websites and mobile apps you visit for 12 months, which the police have access to. This is a huge extension of powers, creating a database of the nation's online life.
No other country in the EU or Commonwealth does this and nor does the US or Canada. ISPs may even have to increase the cost of broadband bills to cover the costs of collecting and storing all this data.
The Bill endorses GCHQ's existing extensive and intrusive surveillance powers that were revealed by Edward Snowden, rather than rolling them back. This includes powers of bulk collection and analysis of data collected by tapping Internet cables, ie. 'Tempora'. GCHQ should concentrate on targeting suspected criminals, not collecting information on law-abiding citizens.
The Bill clarifies the security agencies' powers to break into our laptops and mobile phones, including worrying new powers for non-targeted 'mass hacking', which may mean, for example, getting Apple to push out a compromised update to lots of phones. Worringly, the Bill also forces Internet companies to help in hacking their own customers. Will we be able to trust that we can use any device securely under this law?
Despite Government assurances that this Bill offers judicial authorisation for the first time, judges will have only a very narrow role. They are only allowed to check that there are grounds for the minister’s decision and that procedures have been followed. In practice this can simply amount to a rubber-stamp, and all the real power rests with Government Ministers.
Tell your MP to talk to the MPs who are scrutinising the Bill. It's important they hear about what members of the public think, not just the experts they call to give evidence.
What's happening next?
A joint committee of MPs and Peers will scrutinise the Bill. ORG will provide evidence to the Committee, and so can you. The Committee should report in the new year with suggestions for changes to the Bill. We expect MPs to vote on this in spring. It's important to start talking to them now so they are aware of the concerns that their constituents have about the Bill, and to get them to pay attention to this huge piece of surveillance law.