Investigatory Powers Bill

Written evidence submitted by Willie Mckenna (IPB 02)

I am sure we all accept that there is a need for communication surveillance today, but I feel parts of the Bill as it stands require amendments.

I am concerned about data retention and storage for one year. No data storage system exists which can offer effective security of data. We see major breaches by hacking etc, affecting major banks, the NHS, commercial companies and even government departments. Until there is a secure system, data should be available to security services, but not stored. Citizen data should not be placed at risk by incomplete security.

Blanket surveillance of the population is grossly excessive. The powers the Bill conveys should surely be used only when a reasonable suspicion of activity endangering National Security exists.

Any powers granted to police forces should be restricted also to matters of national security. It is well known that police abuse of data systems they can access are abused for a wide variety of reasons are commonplace. If granted further powers under this Bill, they will almost certainly abuse them.

I do not like the ability to take control of my mobile phone, but that is a fait accompli. Nor do I object to having my browsing monitored. When suspicion exists it is reasonable to watch for any suspicious sites visited, but again this should only be for national security reasons.  I think it is an unwarranted invasion of privacy to examine pages are browsed once a site is accessed. The site identify alone should be enough to decide if closer monitoring is indicated.

I do not object to my texts or emails being monitored. Nor do I object to checks on telephone calls, i.e. origin inbound and destination outbound. However, as above I feel listening to speech content should also only be possible where national security is involved.

Finally I think it very wrong that powers under the bill are authorised only by Commissioners appointed by the government. This fight should be reserved for the judiciary.

Thank you for facilitating comments.

March 2016


Prepared 24th March 2016