Snoopers Charter Changes Put Forward

The government has proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

The government has proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, after accepting that some parts of it are “inconsistent with EU law”.

In December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that some aspects of the legislation were incompatible with EU law.

A public consultation on the proposed changes will run until 18th January.  

Under the IPA 2016, the Secretary of State can order companies to keep communication metadata such as when, and to whom, messages were sent.

The government accepted the IPA 2016 is inconsistent with EU law because law enforcement did not need to seek independent permission to access communications data.

To address its concerns the government proposes:

  • That offences carrying a potential prison sentence of six months or more should be considered "serious crimes" for which communications data can be collected.
  • That communications data will no longer be collected for the purpose of public health, collecting taxes or regulating financial markets.
  • Creating a new Office for Communications Data Authorisations (OCDA), that will authorise or decline law enforcement requests for data.

The government said that creating the OCDA was a “significant” task that would require new premises, IT systems and staff. The Open Rights Group described the changes as a “major victory” but said it wanted further amendments.

The OCDA said in a blog: "Adding independent authorisation for communications data requests will make the police more effective, as corruption and abuse will be harder."Nevertheless, the government has disregarded many key elements of the judgment. It isn't going to reduce the amount of data retained.

"The public has until the 18th January to submit comments on the proposals to the government.


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