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Investigatory Powers Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 5:45 pm, 19th July 2016

My Lords, the provisions on the lawfulness of conduct authorised by Part 3 replicate those that apply currently in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. As we made clear in response to an identical amendment in the other place, the Bill goes no further as regards providing indemnity from civil liability for conduct that is incidental to, or reasonably undertaken in connection with, a communications data authorisation.

The provision as drafted ensures that a person who engages in conduct only in connection with an authorisation cannot be subject to civil liability unless that activity could itself have been authorised separately under a relevant power. That, we submit, must be right. The amendment would remove that provision entirely, which, in effect, would mean that a person acting lawfully under an authorisation that had properly been granted under the Bill would be at risk of civil liability if some incidental or reasonably connected conduct were not expressly covered by the authorisation.

I notice that it is a probing amendment. In those circumstances, I invite the noble Lord to withdraw it.