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December 11, 2012

Briefing on the Joint Committee's final report into the draft Communications Data Bill

This note sets out the key points from the Joint Committee report.


December 11th 2012

Key points from the Committee's report:

  • The Joint Committee say the draft Bill pays “insufficient attention to the duty to respect the right to privacy, and goes much further than it need or should.”
  • The report is extremely critical of the Home Office, labelling their figures “fanciful and misleading.”
  • Both the Joint Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee criticise the lack of consultation by the Home Office and conclude that their proposals need rethinking.
  • The report says the overall cost to the tax payer is likely to exceed the predicted £1.8bn “by a considerable margin.”

Open Rights Group recommendations for next steps:

  • The report vindicates Open Rights Group's view that the current proposals should be dropped.
  • Added together, the recommendations of the Committee indicate the need for a fundamental, full and public review of digital surveillance.
  • The Committee's report demonstrates that the Home Office should not be relied upon to run this review, as it would involve broader issues of justice and human rights.

Further notes:

A Joint Committee of MPs and Lords today published its report into the draft Communications Data Bill. The Committee has spent six months scrutinising the proposals, receiving a substantial amount of oral and written evidence. The final report is available from the Joint Committee website.

Following the criticisms of the content of the draft Bill and the way it was developed, Open Rights Groups believes a fundamental review of digital surveillance is required. A review of this nature should not be entrusted to the Home Office alone; a key problem with the current proposals, as noted by the Committee, has been the insular and secretive nature of the policy making process to date.

For more information contact Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock: jim@openrightsgroup.org / +442070961079 / +447894498127