Electronic Surveillance

Home Office written question – answered on 20th December 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on establishing an independent agency to assess requests from authorised agencies for access to records of phone calls, emails, and text messages relating to investigations into serious crime.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

On 30 November 2017, the Government launched a public consultation on proposed changes to Part 4 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which includes the creation of a newly appointed body to be known as the Office for Communications Data Authorisations (OCDA).

The consultation closes on 18 January 2018. Following the consultation, the Secretary of State will carefully consider any representations made in response, and what, if any, changes may be required to the draft Regulations and code of practice. The draft Regulations and code of practice will then be laid in Parliament for approval by both Houses before they can come into effect.

The Government is working to establish OCDA with the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, who the body will report directly to, and the task of setting it up is significant. It involves the procurement of premises (including appropriate security arrangements), recruitment, vetting and training of new staff, and the development of the necessary IT systems and processes which will allow OCDA staff to electronically consider applications from over 600 public authorities.

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