Clause 157 - Computer information

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 16th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 2:30 pm, 16th January 2003

I want briefly to raise the issue of computer information. The Government's helpful explanatory note on the clause is very short; it consists of three lines only. There is far less by way

of explanation than the number of lines in the clause. It is important to put a few things on the record about when computer information will be sought. As the Minister is aware, the law needs to be particularly sensitive when we are talking about material being downloaded, as the matter is in the public eye in a different context.

Will the Minister say something about how the clause has been drawn and how it interrelates with the PACE provisions that we discussed in clause 154? Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that there will not be a vast increase in litigation if people challenge the way in which computer information is produced? Subsection (3) states that the order has effect to give the constable access to the material in a form

''(a) in which it is visible and legible, or

(b) from which it can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.''

We need to know more about how the information will be produced and whether it will place too onerous an obligation on those who are subject to the orders.