Draft Communications Data Bill - Draft Communications Data Bill Joint Committee Contents

Appendix 3: Call for written evidence

The Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill, chaired by Lord Blencathra, is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny into the draft Bill and the policies it seeks to implement. The Joint Committee comprises 6 MPs and 6 Peers. It will take oral and written evidence and make recommendations in a report to both Houses. The Joint Committee invites interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence as part of the inquiry.

Below are specific questions about the details of the draft Bill. The Joint Committee would appreciate written submissions on any of these questions on which you have evidence to contribute. It is not necessary to address every question. The Joint Committee will also welcome other comments related to the draft Bill, even if not directly addressing the questions below.

  • General:
  • 1.  Has the Home Office made it clear what it hopes to achieve through the draft Bill?

    2.  Has the Government made a convincing case for the need for the new powers proposed in the draft Bill?

    3.  How do the proposals in the draft Bill fit within the wider landscape on intrusion into individuals' privacy?

    4.  What lessons can be learnt from the approach of other countries to the collection of communications data?

    5.  Are there any alternative proposals with regard to the technique and cost of obtaining communications data that the Government could consider?

    6.  The draft Bill sits alongside the Data Retention Regulations. How will these two pieces of legislation interrelate? Would it be preferable to have one overarching piece of legislation that governs the retention of communications data?

    7.  If it is concluded that the provisions of the draft Bill are essential, are there any other measures that could be scrapped as a quid pro quo to rebalance civil liberties?

    8.  Will the proposals in the draft Bill pose a risk that communications service providers see the UK as a less attractive base. What might be the effect on business?

  • Costs:
  • 9.  Is the estimated cost of £1.8bn over 10 years realistic?

    10.  The Home Office suggests the benefits that could be delivered by the enactment of the draft Bill could be worth between £5-6bn. Is this figure realistic?

  • Scope:
  • 11.  Are the definitions of communications data and communications service provider appropriate? Do they sensibly define the scope of the powers in the draft Bill?

    12.  Which public authorities should be able to access communications data under the draft Bill? Should it be possible for the Secretary of State to vary this list by order?

    13.  How robust are the plans to place requirements on communications service providers based overseas? How realistic is it that overseas providers could be pursued for breach of duty?

  • Use of Communications Data:
  • 14.  Are the circumstances under which communications data can be accessed appropriate and proportional? What kind of crimes should communications data be used to detect?

    15.  Is the proposed 12 month period for the retention of data too long or too short?

  • Safeguards:
  • 16.  Applications for accessing communications data will be subject to a series of safeguards including approval by a designated senior officer within the public authority making the request. How should "designated senior officer" be defined? Is this system satisfactory? Are there concerns about compliance with Article 8 ECHR?

    17.  Would a warrant system be more appropriate? If you favour a warrant system should this apply to all public authorities including law enforcement agencies? Should a warrant be necessary in all circumstances? And what would the resource implications be?

    18.  Is the role of the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Information Commissioner sensible?

  • Parliamentary Oversight:
  • 19.  Are the arrangements for parliamentary oversight of the powers within the draft Bill satisfactory?

  • Enforcement:
  • 20.  Are the penalties appropriate for those communications service providers who fail to comply with the requirements of the draft Bill?

    21.  Are the penalties appropriate for those public authorities that inappropriately request access to communications data? Should failure to adhere to the Code of Practice which is provided for in the draft Bill amount to an offence?

  • Technical:
  • 22.  Does the technology exist to enable communications service providers to capture communications data reliably, store it safely and separate it from communications content?

    23.  How safely can communications data be stored?

    24.  Are the proposals for the filtering arrangements clear, appropriate and technically feasible?

    25.  How easy will it be for individuals or organisations to circumvent the measures in the draft Bill ?

    26.  Are there concerns about the consequences of decryption?

    You need not address all these questions.

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    © Parliamentary copyright 2012
    Prepared 11 December 2012