Our responses to the Joint Committee on the Communications Data Bill
Privacy Internationally has submitted two documents to the UK Parliament's Joint Committee reviewing the draft Communications Data Bill. The first submission is an implementation briefing based on our work for the Big Brother Incorporated project, establishing the capabilities and defects of existing surveillance technologies. The second submission focuses on the the majority of the Joint Committee's 21 questions about the social and ethical implications of increased communications data surveillance capabilities. Our two submissions:
Five months into the scrutiny process for this draft Bill, we are still no closer to understanding what the Home Office intends to do. The draft Bill is extraordinarily broad - it can even require Royal Mail to take a copy of all information on the outside of an envelope. The kind of powers it would grant to the police are the kind used indiscriminately across undemocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically in China, Iran, Kazakhstan and Syria. Where the Home Office has said details will be forthcoming, we are still waiting.
The committee has now returned to work after recess, and we are tracking its progress closely.
UPDATE: On 29th October 2012, Privacy International submitted further written evidence to the Joint Committee, and on 30th October Gus Hosein appeared before the committee again to give oral evidence.