Documents to download

This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the provisions of the Investigatory Powers Bill. This is a government Bill introduced in the House of Commons on 1 March 2016 and carried over into the current session. Following completion of its Commons stages, it was introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June 2016. The Bill is scheduled for second reading debate on 27 June 2016.

The Bill includes the following provisions:

  • Powers for the targeted interception of communications.
  • Powers for targeted equipment interference (accessing computer equipment, mobile phones etc) in order to obtain stored communications and other data.
  • Powers to obtain communications data (the context, but not the content of a communication) from communications service providers.
  • Powers to obtain internet connection records (a proposed new form of communications data) from communications service providers.
  • Powers for the security and intelligence agencies to undertake interception and equipment interference on a larger scale and to acquire communications data in bulk.
  • Powers for the security and intelligence agencies to acquire and retain bulk personal datasets (datasets which contain containing information about a wide range of people, most of whom are not of interest to the agencies).
  • A new system for the authorisation of warrants, whereby the approval of the Secretary of State and an independent Judicial Commissioner will be required.
  • An overhaul of the oversight regime for investigatory powers, with the three current commissioners and their offices replaced by a single Investigatory Powers Commissioner.

Most of these investigatory powers are already used under existing legislation and are being consolidated and clarified in this Bill. The power to obtain internet connection records is a new power. The bulk powers, used by the security and intelligence agencies, have only recently been avowed by Government.

This Library briefing provides an outline of the provisions of the Investigatory Powers Bill, as introduced in the House of Lords on 8 June 2016, indicating where amendments were made to the Bill in the House of Commons. It also outlines some of the amendments debated at report stage and not made to the Bill, including those on which the House divided.


Documents to download

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