The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 provides extensive and world-leading privacy safeguards. This sits alongside a robust oversight regime with independent mechanisms for redress.
The Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the Rt hon Lord Justice Fulford, is responsible for overseeing the use of investigatory powers by the intelligence agencies. The safeguards and oversight regime provided for in the Act are designed to ensure that all relevant bodies are in full compliance with its requirements. In addition, the related Codes of Practice provide information on the processes associated with applying to use each of the powers, as well as the safeguards and oversight arrangements that will ensure the powers are used in the intended manner.
On 9 May the Home Secretary announced, through a written ministerial statement to Parliament, that a report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner found that MI5 may not have had sufficient assurance of compliance with particular safeguards in the Investigatory Powers Act which relate to processing information obtained under a warrant.
In response to the Commissioner’s report, MI5 have taken immediate and substantial mitigating actions to address the concerns raised. Work to implement those mitigations is ongoing and is being treated as a matter of the highest priority, both by MI5 and the Home Office. The Home Secretary has also established an independent review to consider and report back on what lessons can be learned for the future.