As the Draft Investigatory Powers Joint Bill Committee reports on its investigation into proposed new surveillance regulation, the Henry Jackson Society welcomes the committee’s recommendations, which will help ensure the independence of proposed judicial oversight, and also outlines the importance of providing our intelligence services with the tools necessary to tackle terrorism.
HJS Deputy Director Davis Lewin said: “It is vital our intelligence services have the tools they need, backed by a clear legal framework, to allow them to keep us safe. Today’s committee report recognises that, in some cases, the collection and retention of bulk data will be necessary, and seeks to ensure that the safeguards required to make this process as effective and proportionate as possible are put in place. The government is right to consult widely on this proposed bill, and the report should be seen in principle as a clear endorsement of the important steps the government is taking to safeguard the country in the digital age.”
HJS has long highlighted the critical importance of ensuring intelligence agencies have access to the data needed to safeguard national security and fight crime, including in our report Surveillance after Snowden’ and inour submission to the Joint Committee.
Striking the right balance between security and privacy concerns must not water down the fundamental powers needed by our law enforcement agencies, and as the committee recognises, in some cases the intrusive nature of data collection is outweighed by the potential value of that data. It is an important step to put all the regulation concerning such powers in one place, as this bill seeks to do, and to ensure that this is accompanied by a culture of accountability within the intelligence service.