Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill was announced in the House of Commons on 10 July. The Bill ensures that capabilities to fight crime and protect the public are maintained. It clarifies existing law without extending current powers. Some may think that it gives too much power to the Government but I am content that it only gives the powers the police and security services need in order to keep us safe,

Communications data is the context not the content of a communication. It can be used to demonstrate who was communicating; when; from where; and with whom. It can include the time and duration of a communication, the number or email address of the originator and recipient, and sometimes the location of the device from which the communication was made. It does not include the content of any communication: for example the text of an email or a conversation on a telephone. Communications data is used by the intelligence and law enforcement agencies during investigations regarding national security and, organised and serious crime. It enables investigators to identify members of a criminal network, place them in specific locations at given times and in certain cases to understand the criminality in which they are engaged.

Interception provides, under strict conditions and for a limited number of public authorities, access to the content of a communication. This Bill will not alter the existing safeguards which regulate interception. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies will continue to require an interception warrant signed by the Secretary of State.