Warrants that may be issued under this Chapter

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 12th April 2016.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 11:15 am, 12th April 2016

I will try to do that during my response. If one recognises that a different process should apply in the exercise of different powers, contextualised around the operational function of the organisations that are exercising the powers and the purposes for which the powers are being exercised, one begins to appreciate that what might, at first reading, look like inconsistency is not an error or an inconsistency but is a necessary application of different sets of both powers and safeguards for different needs. I will address the hon. and learned Gentleman’s specific point as I go through my response.

Amendment 57 would extend the requirement to obtain a targeted examination warrant to circumstances in which an agency wishes to select for examination the secondary data, as opposed to content, relating to the communications of an individual who is known to be in the UK when the data have been obtained under a bulk interception warrant. Essentially, secondary data are less intrusive than content; their collection and the circumstances in which they may be examined are directly subject to double-lock authorisation. Furthermore, it is necessary to say that it is sometimes important, indeed essential, to examine secondary data to determine whether someone is in the UK. That does not provide an entire answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman’s question on the difference, but it provides some answer to the argument about where someone resides at a given point in time.

The targeted acquisition of communications data, provided for in part 3 of the Bill, including data relating to individuals in the United Kingdom, currently requires the designation of an authorised person within an organisation. The hon. and learned Gentleman acknowledged that we have taken further steps, which I will talk about later, following the recommendations of David Anderson—forgive me, but this is quite a complex area, and I need to go into it in some detail.

In contrast, bulk interception warrants, which authorise the collection of communications in bulk and set out the circumstances in which material that has been collected can be selected for examination, are subject to the double-lock authorisation of both the Secretary of State and a judicial commissioner. That means that the acquisition of content and secondary data, and the operational purposes for which any of the data can be selected for examination, is explicitly authorised by the Secretary of State and a judicial commissioner when the warrant is approved. The agencies can only select material for examination when it is necessary and proportionate to do so, in line with one or more operational purposes authorised when the warrant is granted.

Where the security and intelligence agencies wish to look at the content of the communications of an individual in the United Kingdom under a bulk interception warrant, they will need to obtain a targeted examination warrant, which reflects the recommendations from the independent reviewer, David Anderson. I draw attention to his report, “A Question of Trust,” with which members of the Committee will be familiar. The report addresses precisely this point in recommendations 79 and 80 on the use of material recovered under bulk warrants. The regime reflects the well-recognised distinction between less intrusive data obtained through these powers and content—