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Investigatory Powers Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 6:00 pm, 19th July 2016

My Lords, this amendment is one of several in this group in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Hamwee. Amendment 158A probes what is meant by the term “any other information” in terms of the purpose of an equipment interference warrant. Clause 93(2) states that an “equipment interference warrant”,

“requires the person to whom it is addressed to secure interference … for the purpose of obtaining—(a) communications”,

which is defined in Section 126(1); “(b) equipment data”, defined in Section 94; and “(c) any other information”, which is not defined. Can the Minister at least give some examples of what “any other information” means? Amendments 185B and 185C cover the same point in other subsections of Clause 93.

Amendments 158D to 158M and Amendments 169B to 169T make a different point—to try to ensure greater targeting of equipment interference warrants. Clause 95 sets out the subject matter of targeted equipment interference warrants. Clause 95(1)(b) states that the warrant may relate to,

“equipment belonging to, used by or in the possession of a group … who share a common purpose or who carry on, or may carry on, a particular activity”.

Such a broad and potentially large group of people can only in the loosest sense be described as targeted.

Amendment 158J applies the same arguments to targeted examination warrants in Clause 95(2)(b). Similar arguments of not being too broad and not being sufficiently focused apply to Clause 95(1)(f):

“equipment which is being, or may be, used for the purposes of a particular activity or activities of a particular description”.

Instead, Amendment 158H would insert:

“A targeted equipment interference warrant may be issued only if the persons or equipment to which the warrant relates are named or specifically identified using a unique identifier”,

which could, for example, be the IP address for a particular device. Similar wording in Amendment 158M would apply to targeted examination warrants.

It is worth remembering what targeted examination warrants are for. If, as a result of the bulk collection of the content of overseas communications, the security services discover UK-based communications that they want to examine the content of, they must first have a targeted examination warrant. This is to prevent the bulk collection of the content of communications of UK citizens. How then can it be right that such a targeted examination warrant applies to such a broad range of communications as,

“a group of persons who share a common purpose or who carry on, or may carry on, a particular activity”?

If the security services know that the communication is UK-based, they must also know whose communication it is and can therefore specify that in the warrant.

Subsections (1)(g) and (h) and (2)(d) and (e) of Clause 95 make provision for the issuing of targeted equipment interference warrants and targeted examination warrants for the purposes of testing, maintenance of equipment and the training of people. Amendments 158F, 158G, 158K and 158L would leave out those provisions.

In the first Committee sitting we discussed the issuing of interception warrants for the purposes of testing equipment and training agents, and the noble and learned Lord responded to the debate at cols. 105 and 106. In response to the Minister’s explanation, I said that I was still puzzled about training and testing warrants. I accepted that new equipment required testing and individuals needed to be trained in real-life situations but said that I was concerned about who the individuals or organisations were that might be targeted in these training exercises, bearing in mind that the normal provisions regarding proportionality and necessity in terms of suspicions that these individuals were up to no good would presumably not apply in training and testing situations. If they were real bad guys, a non-testing and training warrant could be issued. The noble and learned Lord failed to convince me then, but perhaps he can try again now.

Amendments 169B and 169T make the necessary consequential changes to the requirements that must be met by warrants in terms of the details that must be included in equipment interference warrants. I beg to move.