JUSTICE has published its written evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill.
The Draft Bill would enable the Government to compel providers of communications services to collect, store and keep new information about how we use the internet, the phone and the post to communicate with each other.
JUSTICE considers that expanding the pool of information collected about everyone who uses any form of communication technology in this way needs weighty justification, which the Government has not produced. Growth in communications technology does not automatically justify the creation of a rolling journal of information about the nation’s day to day activities.
The proposals in the Draft Bill would build on the existing law of surveillance, in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). In most cases, access to this new cache of information would be self-authorised by Government agencies and free from prior judicial oversight. As we explained in Freedom from Suspicion: RIPA is flawed. The time is ripe for a wholesale reform of our law on surveillance to make it fit for a digital age. Instead, the Government proposes a potentially exponential expansion of the information available for surveillance purposes. JUSTICE calls on the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill to reject these proposals.