Clause 8

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Transport 11:30 am, 13th March 2007

Having last week discussed biometric data, we move on to the use to which they can be put and their retention. Amendment No. 81 would alter subsection (2), which is broad and gives the Secretary of State sweeping powers to use information for absolutely anything. Specifically, it states clearly that information may be used for a purpose that does not relate to immigration. Since this is the UK Borders Bill and the Committee is principally concerned with securing our borders, we feel that that notion is far too broad.

The amendment is intended to get the Minister to be a little more specific. We suggest that information be used in connection with immigration and nationality—that is what the Bill is about—and in connection with any issue to do with terrorism, on which there is clearly a need to share information. We do not want to do anything that would tie the hands of the security services. In fact, we hope that one of the consequences of the Bill will be greater co-operation. We also include money laundering, because if there is drug or human trafficking going on we want it to be possible for information to be shared. Later amendments would also deal with that. We seek to be helpful and specific by saying what information should be used for instead of having the broad catch-all notion in the clause.

The amendment is a probing amendment so that we can hear from the Minister what his intentions are. Having heard the concerns expressed in our evidence sessions, we need to ensure that the information collected is used for the right purposes. It is good practice for bureaucracies to be clear about why they are collecting information and what it is used for.