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Horsham Liberal Democrats

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"A whole new set of risks for innocent internet users" The IP Bill in House of Lords Committee

July 22, 2016 5:31 PM
By Derek Deedman in House of Lords newsletter

This week the Home Affairs team debated proposed changes to the Investigatory Powers Bill which would remove Government proposals to retain everyone's web history for the past 12 months.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords, outlined the reasons for fighting against keeping internet connection records:

"Internet connection records do not do what the Government claim they do. They do not provide the police and security services with the internet ​equivalent of the communications data they already have-for example, access to mobile phone provider data. It is far more complex than that. At best, internet connection records provide only details of which communications platforms have been used, most of which are based in the United States.

"Whether useful communications data can be accessed depends on voluntary co-operation by the American companies, which is unlikely in all but serious cases-for which there is an alternative. Internet connection records may provide leads, but they are difficult, complex and time-consuming to follow up. They fail the necessity test. The security services-MI5, MI6 and GCHQ-say that they do not need internet connection to be stored by telecommunications operators because they have other ways of securing the data that they need. In serious crime cases, GCHQ can, does and will help law enforcement to secure the communications data that the police need without recourse to internet connection records."

Paul Strasburger added:

"The intelligence agencies are clear that they have no need for internet connection records. The policemen who gave evidence to the Joint Committee did not seem to have their hearts in it when they were sent in to bat for ICRs by the Home Office, which has been pushing for this power for years.

"The new power fails the necessity test. Its usefulness is tiny and its intrusiveness for every citizen is very high, which means that it fails the proportionality test as well. It is technically difficult and very costly to deliver. It opens up a whole new set of risks for innocent internet users, making us substantially less safe, and for all those reasons no other country is doing it. Internet connection records have nothing going for them and should not be part of the Bill."

The Bill will return to finish Committee when the House sits in September.