Clause 16 - Powers to require retention of certain data

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 7 March 2024.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 3:15, 7 March 2024

Section 87(4) of the IPA provides that a data retention notice cannot require the operator to retain so-called “third party data”. There is no intention to revisit the principle of this important provision, but technological advancements have highlighted some discrete and unintended consequences. For example, the Secretary of State is prevented from placing communications data retention obligations on a UK telecommunications operator in relation to data associated with users of a foreign SIM card within the UK.

Clause 16 addresses those unintended consequences and makes an exception for that data within Section 87(4), so that data in relation to roamers using a foreign SIM in the UK would be treated in an equivalent way to the data that could be retained in relation to users of UK SIM cards. Clause 16 also clarifies that communication data required for an internet connection record can be subject to a data retention notice. All existing safeguards will continue to apply.

Continuing to clause 17, the IPA already has extraterritorial effect. Data retention notices—or DRNs—and interception technical capability notices—or TCNs—can be given to a person overseas where there is an operational requirement, and it is necessary and proportionate to do so. However, only TCNs are currently enforceable in relation to a person overseas.

Clause 17 amends section 95 and 97 of the IPA to allow extraterritorial enforcement of DRNs, if required, for UK security purposes when addressing emerging technology and the increasing volume of data being held overseas, bringing them in line with interception TCNs. It is vital to have this further legal lever, if needed, to maintain the capabilities that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies need to access the communications data that they need to in the interests of national security and to tackle serious crime.