Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 1:30 pm, 7th June 2016

Yes, I was aware of that. That has, I think, been public knowledge for some time. So far as I am concerned, as the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, we take that very seriously. Indeed, I believe the agencies took the matter very seriously as well, and that those involved were disciplined. The point was made that however innocent the activity of looking up one’s friend’s address might appear, it was not an acceptable thing to do. I certainly agree. That was one reason why, yesterday, I highlighted the issue of offences and was pleased to get the response from my hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench that they were taking this issue seriously. I worry that the penalties attached to some of the potential offences appear to be insufficient. I fully understand the point the hon. and learned Lady makes, but we must be a bit careful before we translate what appears to have happened in such cases into a belief that there is systematic abuse of the data sets that may be held—that is what we are talking about—by agencies, and that the material in them is being misused or put to some nefarious purpose that is not legitimate for the purposes of national security.