To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statement by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, on 14 January (HC Deb, cols 819–71), that the proposals in the Communications Data Bill were essential, whether the reference was to the draft bill as considered by the Joint Committee or to the revised proposals developed by the Home Office after the Committee reported.
As my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, has made clear, the Government is committed to ensuring that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the powers they need to investigate crime, preserve national security and protect the public. These agencies need access to communications data, but capabilities continue to diminish due to rapidly changing technology. Both the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill, which the Noble Lord chaired, and the Intelligence and Security Committee, which looked at this issue in detail, concluded that there was a gap in capabilities which needed to be addressed. The Government indicated at the time that we accepted the recommendations of the Joint Committee and were willing to make the changes necessary to give effect to those recommendations.
It is vital that this issue is returned to in the next Parliament, when the provisions in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 will sunset, and when Parliament will also be able to consider the findings of the current review into investigatory powers that is being conducted by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC.