Details of the emergency surveillance legislation
Miliband's letter to Labour MPs explaining why Labour backs the bill
Lunchtime summary, including highlights from the Cameron/Clegg press conference
Kenny MacAskill, justice secretary in the SNP-led Scottish government, has said he is "disappointed" that the UK government did not consult with Edinburgh before announcing its plans for an emergency surveillance bill. He said he was "disappointed at the lack of prior consultation and discussion from UK government on today's announcement given how much this legislation potentially impinges on areas of Scots law that are clearly devolved and under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Government or our law enforcement agencies, including the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service."
Ed Miliband's decision to back the bill has been criticised by some in his party. Tom Watson MP said he was "very disappointed" by the move. He added:
To allow this to go through with such unnecessary haste is not just anti-democratic, but I think its a political mistake for the Labour party.
We need time to address these questions. MPs need time to understand and scrutinise what is being proposed. If this is simply rushed through, the public will suspect an establishment stich-up, which will in turn undermine confidence in the security services. LCHR would like to see the passage of this bill delayed to allow time for a proper debate.
This is an important issue for Labour. We must show people that todays Labour Party can be trusted to responsibly balance privacy and security. Thats why we need more time to look at these proposals.
My first and fundamental duty is to ensure the security and safety of our citizens.
I am convinced major investigations into terrorism and organised crime would be jeopardised if we don't pass legislation and that would jeopardise the security and safety of our citizens. That's why I believe legislation is necessary.
All we're trying to do is to maintain the level of surveillance that we've already got. If we don't do this we lose it, and it's vital. It's vital not only to counter-terrorism operations but particularly to serious crime.
At some levels it geniunely helps us save lives, for example if we have kidnaps it's a vital thing that we need, it's also important in homicide investigations.
Subhajit Basu, an associate professor in information technology law (aka "cyberlaw") at Leeds University, has sent me a comment about the way the bill extends the definition of a communications service provider (CSP). See 2.53pm and 4.24pm.
He says the bill is "far more intrusive" than the government is suggesting and that it will "expand the jurisdiction of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act".
As I understand this, the proposed new legislation will cover all persons and all means of electronic communication. It extends the type of communication service provider. It is not subject to geographic restriction. It remains to be seen if a CSP would include Wi-Fi cafe or an unsecured router.
Because of this bill, law enforcement authorities can ask Google to decrypt the content (with a warrant - they were able to do it before in the same way), not just Google UK but 'any' company based outside the jurisdiction of UK.
The Home Office explanatory notes to the bill are available here (pdf).
They explain in some detail why, in addition to introducing data retention rules in the light of the European court of justice ruling, the bill is also amending the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act.
This Bill is required in order to clarify the intent of RIPA. While RIPA has always had implicit extraterritorial effect, some companies based outside the United Kingdom, including some of the largest communications providers in the market, have questioned whether the legislation applies to them. These companies argue that they will only comply with requests where there is a clear obligation in law ...
The need to clarify the intent of RIPA reflects the increasingly globalised nature of telecommunications. This makes it vital that overseas companies comply with lawful requests made under RIPA. Since RIPA was enacted, there is a greater expectation that where Parliament intends a statute to apply extra-territorially, it will contain explicit provision to that effect. This has resulted in telecommunications companies, which this Bill clarifies includes those that provide internet-based services, such as webmail, questioning whether RIPA can apply to them in the absence of explicit statutory confirmation that it applies extra- territorially. If this clarification is not dealt with quickly, there is an increasing likelihood that we could see telecommunications companies refusing requests which are critical for national security and the fight against serious crime.
It is important to clarify urgently the definition of a telecommunications service to ensure it captures the range of services that are used by terrorists and criminals in their attack planning and criminal activities ...
This clause inserts a new subsection into section 2 of RIPA. New section 2(8A) makes clear that the definition of telecommunications service includes companies who provide internet-based services, such as webmail.
David Allen Green, the lawyer and legal blogger, says the data retention bill allows the government to make new laws about data retention.
Clause 1(3) of #DRIP is remarkable, enabling the government to make any new regulations re data retention at will: http://t.co/ayF6wUkVsw
"The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about the retention of relevant communications data." Drip, drip. #DRIP
It appears to me that #DRIP goes further than the proclaimed intention of simply dealing with effect of ECJ decision.
On the World at One David Davis, the Conservative MP, said the Home Office should have allowed more time for the bill to be debated.
I couldnt see quite what there was of an emergency here beyond a sort of theatrical emergency. Bear in mind that it was passed through the European court on 8 April, but that didnt come out of a blue sky there was a submission to it by an Austrian province called Carinthia some time before that, so they should have been prepared for it. Any competent department of state would have looked at the options, look why it might go through, what might be struck down and so on, had legislation prepared then, and we would have then had three months up until now to consider what we should do, rather than this thing thats going through in a single day extraordinarily unusual.
If you really wanted to debate this properly, what we should have done is had a sunset clause in six months. If theyd done that, I would have said fine have whatever bill you like; we can debate it in the autumn, take our time, prepare our data, look at the evidence, look at the law carefully and then get a properly worked-up law before Christmas. But they didnt do that.
Labour's Diane Abbott is unhappy about the bill being rushed through parliament.
Emergency legislation rushed thru Parliament, both party leaderships colluding. Always dodgy http://t.co/svufZJpCiM #snooperscharter
Human Rights Watch has criticised the government for rushing this bill through parliament. This is from Izza Leghtas, a Human Rights Watch researcher.
Given what we know about the UK's involvement in mass surveillance, it is outrageous that the government wants to rush through emergency legislation that allows the government to monitor people not suspected of any wrongdoing.
A proper debate about how to reform surveillance powers is long overdue and it has to happen now, not in 2016.
Labour is saying that, as one of the conditions for it supporting the emergency data retention bill, it insisted that the surveillance review (see 2pm) had to produce a report before the general election.
Here are the terms of reference of the review, which David Anderson, the government's independent reviewer of terror legislation, will lead.
To review the legislation governing the use of communications data and lawful intercept, including the regulation of the investigatory powers act, with particular regard to the following issues:
Whether the current legislation is sufficient to address current and future threats and whether the safeguards to protect privacy are sufficient, given the challenges of current and future technologies and capability requirements
In the comments rustyschwinnToo says the bill may be extending the definition of a communications service provider.
On a quick this seems to be the nasty in the bill:
Meaning of telecommunications service In section 2 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (meaning of interception etc), after subsection (8) insert (8A) For the purposes of the definition of telecommunications service in subsection (1), the cases in which a service is to be taken to consist in the provision of access to, and of facilities for making use of, a telecommunication system include any case where a service consists in or includes facilitating the creation, management or storage of communications transmitted, or that may be transmitted, by means of such a system.
(4) Such provision may, in particular, include provision about
(g) the reimbursement by the Secretary of State (with or without conditions) of expenses incurred by public telecommunications operators in complying with relevant requirements or restrictions,
David Cameron has said that failing to pass emergency surveillance legislation published today would increase the chances of Britain being hit by a terrorist attack. At a news conference where he and Nick Clegg defended the data retention and investigation powers bill, which will be rushed through parliament next week with cross-party support (because Labour back it too), Cameron said:
We face real and credible threats to our security from serious and organised crime, from the activity of paedophiles, from the collapse of Syria, the growth of Isis in Iraq and al Shabab in East Africa. I am simply not prepared to be a prime minister who has to address the people after a terrorist incident and explain that I could have done more to prevent it.
The time to debate what more we might need to do, we've agreed, is for the future. My own very strong view is that we need to ask ourselves this simple question: Do we want as a country to leave a means of communications for paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals to communicate with each other than in extremis we cannot intercept. My own view is that, No, we don't.
Governments up to now have always taken the view, whether it's to do with the mail, whether it's to do with fixed telephony, whether it's to do with mobile phones, that in extremis, to keep the country safe, there are occasions when you need to be able to intercept those communications. I believe that, as technology develops, we will have, over time, to do more to make sure that we don't give paedophiles, terrorists and criminals another way of communicating that we can't, in extremis, intercept. But that debate is for the future. That debate is not for today. Today is simply about maintaining the existing capabilities that we have.
I think this Ripa review that David Anderson and the cross-party can look at may help to build some more consensus. I think it is important to try and proceed on the basis of consensus. I don't want this very difficult and sensitive area to be subject to a whole lot of party-political ding-dong. I don't think that would be good for our country. I don't think that would be good for our security.
Crucially, this bill has nothing to do with the so-called snoopers' charter. That was a Home Office proposal to store every website youve ever visited for a whole year. I blocked that last year, and Ive blocked every further attempt to bring it back
I have no doubt the home secretary will get her Bill through, but the price will be a perception that it is as a result of a last-minute deal between elites with little scrutiny by parliament or civic society and that the rushed legislation might unravel ...
British people aren't stupid and they aren't ideological when it comes to this kind of thing. Why can they not have time to discuss it with their elected representatives?
Unless we act now companies will no longer retain the data about who contacted who, where and when, and we will no longer be able to use this information to bring criminals to justice and keep our country safe.
Some companies are already saying they can no longer work with us unless UK law is clarified immediately. Sometimes in the dangerous world in which we live we need our security services to listen to someone's phone and read their emails to identify and disrupt a terrorist plot. As prime minister I know of examples where doing this has stopped a terrorist attack.
And this is from Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder.
It is difficult to comment on legislation based on a press release. If the government expects the public and civil society to accept this, they need to do more than offer platitudes. They have known of this problem for weeks, and there is no reason to rush through legislation without appropriate public and Parliamentary scrutiny.
I hope there is a significant chance that the Lords will reject this timetable to enable sufficient time for a proper debate to take place.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, has criticised the emergency data retention bill.
The government says it's only plugging loopholes but its existing blanket surveillance practice has been found unlawful. We are told this is a paedophile and jihadi 'emergency', but the court judgment they seek to ignore was handed down over three months ago and this isn't snooping on suspects but on everyone.
We are promised greater scrutiny and debate but not until 2016, as it seems that all three party leaders have done a deal in private. No privacy for us and no scrutiny for them. Will Clegg and Cameron's 'debate for the future' really comfort voters and companies today?
Bob Stewart, a Conservative, asks May to confirm that lives could be lost if the bill does not become law.
May agrees. Innocent lives could be lost, she says.
Here is the full text of the draft data retention and investigatory powers bill (pdf). It runs to 7 pages.
Philip Hollobone, a Conservative, says the three-month delay was down to the Lib Dems humming and hawing.
May says the coalition has been ensuring that it responds to the EU directive in a way that is appropriate.
May says the European commission will look at the need for a new data retention directive. But that will take some time, she says.
Robert Halfon, a Conservative, asks May to consider a British internet bill of rights.
May says that is an interesting suggestion. This whole question, of the internet and privacy, is one that the review will look at, she says.
Robert Buckland, a Conservative, asks if the recommendations on proportionality in the ECJ ruling will be observed in the bill.
May says they will be. The data retention clauses will apply only to a specific list of particular types of data. And there will be an absolute 12-month time limit for data retention.
May says lives could be lost if this legislation does not get through.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Lib Dem leader, says Roy Jenkins brought emergency legislation dealing with Northern Ireland through the Commons on the same timetable.
Labour's Tom Watson says that May will get her bill through, but at the price of it appearing to be a rushed deal between elites. We have a tradition of policing through consent. Does May think the same should apply to the security services?
May says some MPs think that when the frontbenches agree, that amounts to a conspiracy that should be arrested. But in fact it is a sign of the seriousness of these issues, she says.
Labour's David Winnick says there is "much misgiving" about the bill being rushed through next week. He won't be supporting it, he says.
Pete Wishart, the SNP MP, says the Home Office has not discussed this with the Scottish government, even though it is in charge of policing in Scotland. This is snoopers' charter, the prequel, he says.
May says she will discuss this with the Scottish government. This is about tackling serious crime and terrorism, she says. She is
Mark Field, a Conservative, says he is uncomfortable about emergency legislation. And he is also wary when there is a cross-party consensus. But, in this case, he thinks the bill is necessary.
May says this is not about new powers.
Labour's Chris Bryant says he sympathises with David Davis. Wouldn't it be better to have the bill debated in the Commons over two days, not one day?
May says she understands the point. The draft bill is being published today. She wants the Commons to deal with it in timely way, she says.
May says she does not see the choice between liberty and security as a binary one. You can only have liberty with security, she says.
May says the review that she is setting up is intended to produce a report before the general election, so it can influence legislation after the election.
The DUP's Ian Paisley says all law-abiding citizens in Northern Ireland will support legislation that defends the realm.
David Davis, the Conservative backbencher, says the case was put to the ECJ long before the ruling in April. The government had plenty of time to think about this. So why is this an emergency?
May says it was never going to be possible to take this bill through parliament in the normal way.
Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the home affairs committee, says he supports the bill. May will be giving evidence to the committee next week. That will be part of the scrutiny process, he says.
Sir Alan Beith, the Lib Dem chair of the justice committee, suggests some authority beyond ministers might be needed to justify the highest intrusion of privacy.
May says the joint committee looking at the draft bill said the arrangements in place yesterday were appropriate.
Hazel Blears, the Labour former Home Office minister, says she welcomes the proposals on data retention. But she is concerned about the plans to extend the territoriality of intercept powers.
May says the government has asserted that extra-territorial powers exist in Ripa. But the new legislation with make it absolutely clear that warrants can apply outside the UK to add extra certainty.
Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs committee, says he thinks the bill is "absolutely essential".
Alan Johnson, the Labour former home secetary, says restoring the status quo is vital, but not sufficient. Haven't we wasted five years that could have been spent addressing the gaps in the legislation? Doesn't that mean the security services are lacking powers they need?
May says this is an issue that needs to be addressed. She still supports the draft communications data bill, she says. (This was the one Nick Clegg blocked.)
Good point from my colleague Patrick Wintour.
May and Cooper present RIPA review differently. Cooper says it is about accountability.May says it will look at extending powers of spooks.
May is responding to Cooper.
As for the timing, May says the government has spent "quite a time" thinking about how best to respond to the ECJ ruling. But it was always going to be necessary for this to be fast-track legislation.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, is responding to May now.
(She has already set out her views on a letter to Labour MPs. See 11.06am.)
May says the government would be negligent if it did not give the police the powers they need. They are clear that the government needs to act urgently, she says.
May says the timetable for the bill will be "tight". But the government has to have royal assent by the summer recess.
So it will be as short as possible, she says.
The Labour MP Chris Bryant has tweeted this about what he points out is the DRIP (data retention and investigation powers) bill.
Leader of the house confirms MPs will be allowed to table amendments to emergency DRIP Bill before second reading.
David Cameron is in the chamber for the statement, sitting alongside Theresa May.
May says the government is proposing a "narrow" bill. She is not bringing back the communications data bill that was published in draft. That was blocked by the Lib Dems, she says, and this matter will have to be resolved at the election.
Theresa May, the home secretary, is making a statement to MPs about the emergency surveillance bill now.
Some of what she says will duplicate what David Cameron and Nick Clegg said earlier. I'll will just focus on the new material.
Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, have written a joint letter to Labour MPs explaining why they are supporting the emergency bill. Here is the text in full.
As a result of a recent judgement by the European Court of Justice, the police and intelligence agencies are in danger of losing vital information which is used in 95% of serious and organised crime investigations as well as counter terror investigations and online child abuse.
Q: How close was the UK to the cliff edge?
Cameron says there were two cliff edges.
Q: When did you decide on emergency legislation? And your description of the process is very different to what Edward Snowden said was happening.
Cameron says there are two problems: comms data, and legal intercept.
Q: Do you admit you are taking a risk by not going further now? And, if a threat materialises, will you have blood on your hands?
Cameron says it would not be right to use emergency legislation to give the government extra powers.
Q: The Snowden revelations suggested the security services could do all this anyway? And would you agree to Labour's call for an opposition MP to chair the intelligence and security committee.
Cameron says the Commons has just legislated to change the way the ISC chooses its chair. Now the ISC's members will elected the chair. An opposition figure could be chosen.
Q: Did you not set your face against a review of the security services after the Snowden revelations? And why are you doing this under emergency powers?
Cameron says this is an emergency. If the government does not deal with the data retention issue, phone companies might start deleting their records soon.
Cameron and Clegg are now taking questions.
Q: How is this different from state-sponsored phone and email hacking? And shouldn't we be very suspicious of politicians passing emergency legislation?
Nick Clegg is speaking now.
As a Liberal Democrat, he thinks successive governments have not done enough to protect liberties.
Cameron says he is not prepared to be a prime minister who addressed people after a terrorist incident, saying he could have done more to prevent it.
He will always ensure the security services get the tools they need, he says.
Cameron is now talking about the safeguards that will be introduced. (See 8.41am.)
First, the number of organisations that can access communications data will be restricted. For example, the Royal Mail, the Charities Commission and the Pensions Regulator will no longer get access to information, he says.
@arusbridger @AndrewSparrow I think you should offer to serve on the new panel, Alan. Seriously.
Cameron says the bill will restore existing capabilities.
But new safeguards are being introduced too.
Cameron is now talking about what the new legislation will do.
He says parliament will consider the bill before the summer recess. There will be a full debate next week.
Cameron is summarising what Downing Street said in the press release about why legislation was needed. (See 8.41am.)
He mentions the European court of justice ruling. He says this did no cover the contents of communications; he is just talking about the metadata, showing who was talking to who, and when.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg are starting their press conference on the emergency data retention bill.
You can read what Downing Street is saying about the bill at 8.41am.
The Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert has sent an email to party members defending the emergency bill. Here's an extract.
The European Court of Justice threw out the European Data Retention Directive, which underpins all collection of communications data in this country. I sympathise with the reasons, but we must acknowledge that it causes real problems we do need to have some way to keep some communications data, but under very careful control.
Some people would love to use this to bring back the awful Communications Data Bill known as the Snoopers Charter that Nick vetoed last year. A number of Tories pushed it and Labour tried something similar themselves. We will not allow this to happen. Weve blocked it once, and we will continue to do so. This legislation just allows the agencies to continue with their current abilities ...
Impressed by @julianhuppert email: sunset clause on emergency legislation, but not on civil liberties safeguards.
Labour's Ben Bradshaw also thinks the government could have published this legislation sooner.
The Government needs to explain why it's taken 3 months since the European Court ruling for it to realise it needs rushed emergency laws
The Press Association had a reporter outside Downing Street as ministers were leaving after this morning's special cabinet meeting to discuss the emergency bill.
Ministers did not comment as they left 10 Downing Street after an hour-long emergency meeting of cabinet. Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey shook his head when reporters asked if the new legislation amounted to a "snoopers' charter".
As he left No 10, work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith was asked whether the legislation was a snoopers' charter. He replied: "I don't know what you mean."
Big Brother Watch has also condemned the emergency bill. This is from Emma Carr, its acting director.
It is a basic principle of a free society that you don't monitor people who are not under suspicion. Considering the snoopers' charter has already been rejected by the public as well as by the highest court in Europe, it is essential that the government does not rush head-first into creating new legislation.
The EU's data retention laws privatised snooping, meaning companies were paid by governments to record what citizens were doing and retain that information for a year.
Here's David Allen Green, the law and legal blogger (aka Jack of Kent) on the emergency bill.
If you oppose this emergency surveillance legislation, you are deemed "soft on terrorism" under s. 5 of the Something Must Be Done Act.
There can be nothing more pathetic than Clegg's assurance "this will not be used as excuse for more powers, or for a snoopers charter."
There is actually no good reason for this legislation to be rushed through in a day as an "emergency". But there are plenty of bad ones.
The real significance of today's "emergency" legislation is that is an admission that the government has been acting illegally until now.
The Sun's Tom Newton Dunn thinks civil libertarians (see 9.41am) should not be so worried.
Civil libertarians in angst over data laws should read the small print. Clegg has screwed huge concessions from Cameron; spooks not happy.
The Open Rights Group, which campaigns for digital rights, has condemned the emergency surveillance bill. It says the government is defying the European court of justice. This is from the group's executive director, Jim Killock.
The government knows that since the CJEU [court of justice of the EU] ruling, there is no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed. The government has had since April to address the CJEU ruling but it is only now that organisations such as ORG are threatening legal action that this has become an emergency'.
Not only will the proposed legislation infringe our right to privacy, it will also set a dangerous precedent where the government simply re-legislates every time it disagrees with a decision by the CJEU. The ruling still stands and these new plans may actually increase the amount of our personal data that is retained by ISPs, further infringing on our right to privacy.
After the press conference at 10.15am, there will be a statement from Theresa May in the Commons on the emergency surveillance bill, starting at about 11.15am.
Tom Watson, the Labour MP who described the prospect of emergency legislation on surveillance as "something terrible" on Twitter last night (see 8.27am), told the Today programme it was wrong to rush a bill of this kind through parliament.
He was not just attacking David Cameron and Nick Clegg; he made it clear that he was also unhappy with the Labour leadership for supporting the bill.
This is a secret deal between party leaders. There hasnt been a bill published and yet we find out this morning, when Parliament is on one-line whip and MPs are in their constituencies, that next week they will railroad emergency legislation to put right a decision made by the European court of justice that the current legislation was beyond human rights law. Now that doesnt seem right to me.
There are hundreds of thousands of people out there very concerned about this particular policy issue. Theyve not seen this bill either, but it doesnt really matter this year because theres been a deal done between the three parties and itll be railroaded through. If youre an MP you probably shouldnt bother turning up to work next week because what you thinking doesnt really matter.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be explaining the emergency data retention bill at a press conference at 10.15am.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the chair of the intelligence and security and a former Conservative foreign secretary, told the Today programme a few minutes ago that he thought people would probably be able to feel "very comfortable" with the emergency bill.
He said that he had been briefed on the plans two days ago. He stressed that his committee didn't "automatically support what the government is doing" and he said his committee would want to look at the terms of the bill. But he said he accepted the case for legislation.
Broadly speaking, what the government is doing, it is not changing the status quo. It is continuing the arrangements that have existed for the last few years and which are of enormous importance to the police and others in preventing serious crime and catching people who have committed serious crimes.
If that is what they are doing, then it's actually something we can all be very comfortable with ...
The fact that it already has the support of the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats - that's pretty unusual for all three parties to come together and say, yes we recognise this is not extending the law, it's confirming it. And if that is the case, and we're satisfied that's what the bill does, then I think the public can be reassured.
It looks as if Julian Huppert, one of the leading civil libertarians in the Liberal Democrats, will be defending the emergency bill.
.@julianhuppert will be on @bbcnews24 at 9am discussing why we will not allow 'snooper's charter'
And this is what Nick Clegg is saying about the emergency data retention bill. (See 8.41am.)
We know the consequences of not acting are serious, but this urgency will not be used as an excuse for more powers, or for a snoopers' charter.
I believe that successive governments have neglected civil liberties in the pursuit of greater security. We will be the first government in many decades to increase transparency and oversight, and make significant progress in defence of liberty.
David Cameron will be speaking about his plans today.
PM: I'll be explaining today why emergency legislation is needed to maintain powers to help keep us safe from those who'd harm UK citizens
Downing Street has sent out a lengthy press release with details of the emergency surveillance legislation (or "emergency security legislation", as Number 10 calls it) being announced today. Formally, its the data retention and investigation powers bill.
Here's what it says. I have inserted some headlines to make it easier to read. The headlines are mine, but the text comes from the Number 10 news release.
Emergency legislation to ensure that UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies can maintain their ability to access the telecommunications data they need to investigate criminal activity and protect the public will be announced today by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. This has cross party agreement.
The Government is taking this action following two recent developments. First, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has struck down regulations enabling Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to retain communications data for law enforcement purposes for up to 12 months. Unless they have a business reason to hold this data, internet and phone companies will start deleting it which has serious consequences for investigations investigations which can take many months and which rely on retrospectively accessing data for evidential purposes.
The emergency Data Retention and Investigation Powers Billwill enable agencies to maintain existing capabilities. It will respond to the ECJ judgment on data retention and bring clarity to existing law in response to CSPs requests. Without action, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies will lose sight of data that is crucial for protecting national security and preventing serious crime, and lose track of some dangerous individuals as a result.
At the same time, the PM and DPM will also announce new measures to increase transparency and oversight. In addition there will also be a sunset clause after two years.
The following steps will also be taken to strengthen oversight and transparency:
Communications Data (metadata about communications not the content of communications) has been used in 95% of all serious organised crime cases handled by the Crown Prosecution Service. It has been used in every major Security Service counter-terrorism investigation over the last decade. It is particularly important for targeting serious criminals, including drug dealers, paedophiles and fraudsters. It has also been used to stop crimes in action and save lives, and to prevent miscarriages of justice.
The ability to access communications dataretrospectivelyis crucial in developing intelligence and evidence about the activities of suspects, victims and vulnerable people for the period before a crime or other incident has taken place.
Without a clear legal basis in UK law, and unless they retain it for business need, companies will soon stop providing this data on the regulated, authorisation basis that they have done for many years and may even start deleting data which is essential for law enforcement and national security. The government therefore plans to introduce a simple piece of fast track legislation to restore the legal basis for companies to hold this data - it will take due account of the recommendations the ECJ made in its judgment.
Were these powers lost, it would be harder or impossible to effectively investigate a range of crimes, including:
The interception of communications be it listening to the calls made on a telephone, or opening and reading the contents of a subject of interest's letters or emails, are an important capability for both the police and Intelligence agencies. Authorised by the Secretary of State, it is used, alongside other covert capabilities and techniques, to develop an understanding of the threat posed by individuals and networks, to build our coverage of their activities, and to identify means by which to disrupt them before they damage the UK or endanger lives.
Since 2010, all of MI5s top priority UK counter-terrorism investigations have used interception in some form to identify, understand or disrupt plots seeking to harm the UK and its citizens.
Last night the Labour MP Tom Watson posted a dramatic message on Twitter.
Something terrible could be happeing in Parliament on Monday and I need your urgent attention: https://t.co/klwYBJbZaG
It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised. As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe. The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK.
No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave.