Power to issue bulk equipment interference warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 26 April 2016.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 2:30, 26 April 2016

I am not sure that we need to rehearse the general arguments in respect of bulk again—they have been well covered in earlier considerations—except to say this. It is critically important that the agencies maintain the ability to use these powers for economic wellbeing. We debated that on previous days: where, according to the Bill, are these tied to national security? That was a point that was made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire at a very early stage on Second Reading.

On that basis alone, one would want to resist the proposed amendment. However, the hon. and learned Gentleman has made some more tailored arguments that deserve an answer. Let us just deal with the tests. There are two tests. There is the test contained in clause 158, where the Secretary of State and the commissioner must be satisfied that it is necessary for data required under the warrant to be examined for specific and specified operational purposes.

In clause 170, the analyst examining the data must be satisfied that the examination of a particular piece of data is necessary for a particular operational purpose. So there are two tests that are designed to be appropriate at different points in the process. That is why the list is written as it is. Does that satisfy the hon and learned Gentleman?