My Lords, unusually, I shall be supporting Amendment 1 but I shall also speak to Amendments 2 and 3 in this group. My noble friend Lady Hamwee and I have added our names to Amendment 1 in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Kennedy, but we feel that the amendment to Clause 1 as drafted does not go far enough.
Before I come to that, however, I wish to say that I wholeheartedly support what the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, has said about the provisions of the Bill. Bearing in mind that they are likely to be mutual, in that similar provisions would be in a Bill in a country with which we are going to enter into a treaty, it is very important to have a death penalty assurance in that treaty, which is what the amendment seeks to do. In addition to what the noble Lord has said about UK Ministers saying that we in the UK are opposed to the death penalty, Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, together with Protocol 13 to which the UK is a signatory, provides for the total abolition of the death penalty. In early meetings with the Minister, we were led to believe that that death penalty assurance would be part of any treaty. However, we feel we need that reassurance in the Bill.
As I say, we took the unusual step of both supporting and amending the Labour amendment on the basis that we both agree on the principle of Amendment 1— that the Government should not enter into a treaty that would require UK companies to provide electronic data to law enforcement in a country that had the death penalty unless the treaty contained assurances that the death penalty would not be implemented if data provided by UK companies was used. We believe that the prohibition on entering into a treaty with a country that has the death penalty should be broader than just the data covered by Section 52 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which is what Amendment 1 covers, because that provision covers only the interception of communications in the course of transmission—wiretaps, listening in to telephone conversations and that type of electronic data. A British company could hold personal information about an individual that could be crucial in an investigation for an offence that carries the death penalty in the country making the request. Such electronic data would not necessarily be in the course of transmission but held on servers in the UK.
Our Amendment 2 would therefore include,
“any other enactment which provides for the collection of electronic data”.
Amendment 3 makes it clear that the prohibition on entering into a treaty would not apply if an assurance had been given that the death penalty would not be imposed whether either intercepted communication or any other kind of electronic data had been provided under the Act. That amendment is consequential on Amendment 2.
We want to ensure that no UK company is complicit in providing electronic data of any kind that could lead to someone being executed. I beg to move.