The Communications Data Bill is draft legislation introduced to parliament in May 2012. It seeks to compel ISPs to store details of communications usage so that it can later be used for law enforcement purposes. A bill was not announced in the Queen's Speech in May 2013 and we believe that legislation, matching the scope of the draft bill's proposals, is no longer being proposed for this Parliament. (See Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 for related emergency legislation passed in 2014.)
At the Conservative conference in September 2014, Theresa May MP announced that a future Conservative government would reintroduce the legislation.
See also: ORG campaign page For the full text of the bill see Communications Data Bill/Draft and our clause by clause plain English version, or for responses to public justifications Communications Data Bill/Response to Justifications.
- 1 Current status
- 2 Existing legislation
- 3 Lead up to the draft bill
- 4 Content of the Bill
- 4.1 Collection and retention of data
- 4.2 Access to data
- 4.3 Safeguards
- 4.4 Roll back of certain powers of access
- 5 Draft publication and next steps
- 6 Committees
- 7 Government
- 8 Parliament
- 8.1 Written questions
- 8.2 Oral debates and questions
- 8.2.1 Queen's Speech debate, 9 May 2012
- 8.2.2 Home Affairs and Justice, 10 May 2012
- 8.2.3 PMQs, 20 June 2012
- 8.2.4 Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department, 9 July 2012
- 8.2.5 Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department, 15 October 2012
- 8.2.6 Points of Order, 3 December 2012
- 8.2.7 PMQs, 12 December 2012
- 8.2.8 Treasury - Communications Data Bill (Draft), 12 December 2012
- 8.2.9 Home Department - Communications Data Bill (Draft), 12 December 2012
- 8.2.10 Home Department - Topical Questions, 7 January 2013
- 8.2.11 Ibrahim Magag, 8 January 2013
- 8.2.12 Crime and Courts Bill, 7 February 2013
- 8.2.13 Data Retention, 20 March 2013
- 8.2.14 Draft Data Communications Bill, 25 March 2013
- 8.2.15 Debate on the Address, 8 May 2012
- 8.2.16 Crime: Child Abuse, 4 June 2013
- 8.2.17 Communications Data, 15 July 2013
- 9 European Parliament
- 10 Conservative policy announcement
- 11 External information
- 12 Outreach
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- See /Media for up-to-date media reports
2013-04-25: Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg MP has announced that the bill would not happen with the Lib Dems in government. We await the Queen's Speech in 8 May 2013 to confirm if the bill is either not introduced, or introduced in an edited form.
- In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my Government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace. 
2013-05-23: Following the stabbing of a soldier in Woolwich, it was widely reported that the opportunity would be taken to put the Communications Data Bill "back on the table". There has, however, been no formal announcement by the Home Office regarding the status of the bill.
2013-06-28: Following revelations about the scope of existing GCHQ digital surveillance, it's possible that a push for further legislation may be delayed until questions have been asked about current capabilities.
2013-07-30: "it is the Government’s intention to bring the matter back to Parliament. However, at this stage, final proposals have not been drawn up."
- Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (part 11)
- Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
- Data Retention Directive (enacted in UK by Statutory Instrument)
Lead up to the draft bill
The bill enables the operation of the Communications Capabilities Development Programme, requiring new legal powers to expand the range of interception powers. It was previously proposed as the Intercept Modernisation Programme by the then-Labour government, but withdrawn in 2009. The programme was revived as the CCDP in 2010.
Queen's Speech announcement
The Queen's speech on the 9th of May 2012 included the following
- My government intends to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses.
Information released prior to the draft bill:
- emphasised that only "communications data" will be stored and not "content"
- referred to establishing "frameworks" for the collection of, and accessing of, the data
- (probably involving amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act )
- mentioned a limit for the storage of collected data of 12 months
- mentionted extending the roles of existing independent oversight bodies.
Pre-draft Bill statements
- "The Home Office has confirmed it will foot the bill, thought to run into tens and possibly hundreds of millions, for collecting and storing the extra social media and web browsing records needed to implement the scheme."
- Liberal Democrat stated position is now that "there was no objection in principle to extending the capability of the police and security services to access communications data from emails, texts and mobile phones to Twitter, Facebook and other new forms of social media" but there must be assurances that message content is not retained.
- "I just don't understand why some people might criticise these proposals. I have no doubt conspiracy theorists will come up with some ridiculous claims about how these measures are an infringement of freedom. But without changing the law, the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and paedophiles." -- Theresa May MP
Content of the Bill
Part 1 of the bill creates a new power to order companies to collect specific datasets, creating them if necessary, and deploying any technical or policy changes needed to do so. It also requires this data to be retained in a secure and confidential manner for 12 months, and destroyed after this period elapses. This power can be used by any principal secretary of state (which means most cabinet ministers), but in practice would be the Home Secretary. Use of this power must be ratified by a vote in Parliament.
Part 2 of the bill creates a system for assorted public bodies to get access to this data.
Part 3 makes some changes to RIPA, repeals all other existing powers that involve retaining and disclosing "communications data", and makes the Information Commissioner, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal responsible for scrutiny and oversight of the implementation of these powers.
Collection and retention of data
The bill creates a system to compel "telecommunication operators" to retain or collect information. Section One creates a wide ranging power to issue orders to anyone in charge of a communications network or service to collect and store such information.
Section 151 of the explanatory notes estimates "an increase in public expenditure of up to £1.8 billion over 10 years from 2011/12". It's currently not clear how that figure is arrived at, and what the expected non-public cost will be (i.e. costs incurred by providers that will be passed on to customers).
According the the ISC report (p24), the Home Office has suggested that £859million of this figure will be in compensation to the CSPs. But, as noted, there is little detail of the basis for this figure. Estimated compensation, under existing law, for financial year 2012/13 to CSPs is £15.
Collecting entities covered
While clearly, initially, aimed at broadband and mobile ISPs, section 28 is very broad in who may be required to collect communications data - a “telecommunications operator” is anyone who uses electrical means to communicate. An initial emphasis on ISPs means it is likely that the law will introduce obligations on entities currently underrepresented in its development.
- ISPs and mobile ISPs
- VPN providers
- website operators (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, anything)
- Tor node operators
The draft legislation section 25 would entitle the government to oblige Royal Mail to record all externally visible information on letters that pass through their network (e.g. delivery address, return address, messages on postcards) - although the government have denied any current intention to use such a power (raising questions as to why it has been included in the bill at all).
A Channel4 report indicates that technical details of the 'black boxes' that will be mandated for use in gathering the data have been presented to ISPs. The use of "decryption" in the report might be read to imply they would be expected to use something like a man-in-the-middle SSL attack.
A technique that has been used by security agencies and police in the past in order to read TLS encrypted traffic has been to perform a "man in the middle" (MITM) attack, by intercepting a connection and presenting alternative credentials (although still signed by a believed-valid certificate authority). It has been speculated that this model will be adopted by the black boxes proposed for installation. There are multiple technical reasons why this would be extremely problematic to applying this across the UK - but if required by a Communications Data Act, it would represent a defacto legal control on the use of transport encryption. If active TLS interception was being proposed, it's likely that encrypted VPN and Tor traffic would also be thought to be subject to inspection attempts.
The published bill contains an 8-page memorandum from the Home Office addressing the European Convention on Human Rights.
The bill would also need to be examined in respect to the proposed Data Protection Directive.
There are significant reasons why the collection of data may not be lawful in European law. Data Retention, of which this is an extension, has already been deemed to be unlawful in some European countries, and is being challenged by Digital Rights Ireland.
Article 15 of the Electronic Commerce Directive prohibits states from introducing monitoring obligations on service providers.
It has been reported that the draft legislation would entitle the government to oblige Royal Mail to record all externally visible information on letters that pass through their network (e.g. delivery address, return address, messages on postcards) - although the government have denied any intention to use such a power (raising questions as to why it has been included in the bill at all).
Access to data
The Bill has a different scheme to RIPA for access to Communications Data. Following the recent changes to RIPA, it keeps the new limitations on local councils created by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Local councils, in particular, would be expected to ask a magistrate before being granted access to the data.
The significant change in the new bill is that access requests would be authorised by a senior officer once a month. This means that an officer would be given a broad grant for data, which the senior officer would renew on a monthly basis. The grant would be "for the purposes of a specific investigation or a specific operation" and "proportionate to what is sought to be achieved." (Clause 9 (b) (i) and (c)).
Currently, data requests must be signed off each time. This therefore can be expected to lower the protection through internal supervision.
Data miningData mining appears to be envisaged by Clause 1 (2)
(a) "provide for—
(i) the obtaining (whether by collection, generation or otherwise) by telecommunications operators of communications data,(ii) the processing, retention or destruction by such operators of data so obtained"
Data filtering is envisaged in Clauses 14-16. These are aimed at isolating data associated with a single individual according the government's explanatory notes. For instance, email, chat rooms and message boards might all contain data about a single person, with different identities on each.
Roll back of certain powers of access
Draft publication and next steps
The Home Office has published an Impact Assessment (2012-05-11) of the proposed legislation.
A report on the draft bill was produced by a joint committee and looked at by two other committees. This report is now being considered by the Home Office.
- "the report contained a number of recommendations, and we will accept the substance of all of them. We are currently working on the details. This includes talking to the industry, and discussions about the costs started before Christmas. We will obviously look carefully at those discussions, but it would not be right to opine on the question of the costs until we have spoken to all those in the industry that we wish to consult."
The Coalition Mid-Term Review stated:
- We will consider the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill before bringing a new Bill to Parliament.
An updated version of the bill would then be expected to be announced in the Queen's Speech on 8th May 2013 and debated in the 2013-14 parliamentary session.
The Home Office, in its April structural reform plan lists an April 2012 deadline for publishing proposals and a June 2015 projection for implementation.
- 5.3 (i) Develop and publish proposals for the storage and acquisition of internet and e-mail records (April 2012)
- 5.3 (ii) Implement key proposals for the storage and acquisition of internet and email records, including introducing legislation as necessary (end Jun 2015)
The Cabinet meets every Tuesday when Parliament is sitting, therefore the contents of the Queen's Speech would likely be fixed by the end of Tuesday, 23rd April 2013.
During a radio phone-in on the 25th of April, Deputy Prime-minister Nick Clegg announced "The 'Snooper's Charter' isn't going to happen [...] while Lib Dems are in government.". While Ministers cannot directly address the content of the Queen's Speech, this has been taken to suggest that a revision of the Communications Data Bill will either not be included in the speech, or perhaps reintroduced in a significantly scaled-back form.
- Communications Data: The draft Bill and recent developments - Commons Library Standard Note, 2013-05-10
- Regulatory Policy Committee response, 2013-01-30
Intelligence and Security Committee
CCDP is mentioned on pages 37-39 of the 2011/12 Annual Report.
A statement on the CDB was released just after the joint committee report on the 11th. The full report contains classified material, but the committee "intends to publish as much as possible within the next few weeks".
- The other Comms Data report - analysis by Phil Booth of the statement
- Access to communications data by the intelligence and security Agencies, published 2013-02-05
Joint Committee on Human Rights
- Asked about the Communications Data Bill, the PMS said it was important that the police and security services were able to respond to the scale of technological changes. He said discussions were ongoing in Government on how best to respond to those technological challenges. The Prime Minister understood there were sensitive issues around this area and the right thing to do was to discuss them in detail.
2012-05-17 Douglas Carswell MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has made an assessment of the possible effect on competition in the internet service provider market of the Communications Capabilities Development Programme.
2012-05-22 Douglas Carswell MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to include non-UK based internet service providers in the Communications Capabilities Development Programme.
2012-06-19 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which telecommunication companies her Department consulted in developing the Draft Communications Data Bill.
2012-06-28 Dominic Raab MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances the authorities of other countries would be able to request access to data stored under the proposed Communications Capabilities Development Programme; and if she will publish a list of the countries which would be entitled to request such access.
2012-06-28 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department's Communications Capabilities Development Programme was established; and how many of the staff involved in that programme previously worked on the (a) Interception Modernisation Programme and (b) Mastering the Internet Programme.
2012-07-02 Dominic Raab MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether data stored under the proposed Communications Capabilities Development Programme will be subject to the European Investigation Order.
2012-07-09 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2012, Official Report, column 865W, on databases: telecommunications, what the names are of all the telecommunication companies and representative trade associations who have been involved in discussions with the cross-Government Communication Capabilities Development programme since its inception.
2012-07-17 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to publish draft orders under Clause 1 of the draft Communications Data Bill for use by the Committee on the draft Bill.
2012-07-17 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions (a) she, (b) Ministers in her Department, (c) the Director-General, Security and Counter-Terrorism and (d) other officials in her Department have met (i) Google, (ii) Facebook and (iii) Skype to discuss the draft Communications Data Bill; and on what dates.
2012-09-06 Paul Uppal MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department plans to put in place to protect personal data under the draft Communications Data Bill; and whether she proposes that the Government will be liable for any data stolen
2012-09-18 Steve Rotheram MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the implications for individual privacy of the draft Communications Bill.
2012-09-18 Steve Rotheram MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what safeguards she proposes to introduce in the Communications Bill to ensure the privacy of (a) e-mails and (b) text messages.
2012-11-01 David Davis MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her timetable is for (a) conducting and (b) publishing the evidence-based review of the retention of communications data.
2012-11-01 James Brokenshire MP
- We are taking forward legislation to ensure that law enforcement and other public authorities can maintain access to communications data as technology changes. This is vital to help tackle crime and terrorism. We published the draft Communications Data Bill on 14 June. Supporting information relating to the draft Bill (including the impact and privacy impact assessments to accompany legislation) are available from the Vote Office and at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-terrorism/communications-data/
- The draft Bill is currently subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of both Houses and an inquiry by the Intelligence and Security Committee. We are keen to ensure a thorough scrutiny process, and have contributed fully in setting out the case for the Bill through oral and written evidence to both Committees. The Committees plan to report by the end of November. We will respond to these reports following their publication.
2012-11-19 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which civil liberties organisations she has met to discuss her draft Communications Data Bill.
2013-01-07 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has produced an impact assessment of the draft Communications Data Bill for businesses based in the UK and for investment in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
2013-01-08 Nick Brown MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department
- (1) what her policy is on the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill that the Interception of Communications Commissioner should be given increased powers to monitor communications data requests, including testing of necessity and proportionality;
- (2) whether she plans to propose changes to the legal definitions of communications data and content to reflect current communications practices;
- (3) what her policy is towards the establishment of a specialised single point of contact unit for communications data requests by infrequent users; and what assessment she has made of the effect that such a unit would have on operational practice;
- (4) if she will keep communications monitoring laws under regular review and if necessary bring forward legislative proposals to amend those laws in the light of the fast changing nature of communications practices.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her latest estimate is of the cost of fully implementing the draft Communications Data Bill.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many public authorities are currently allowed access to communications data and whether she plans to increase or decrease the number of authorities that will be covered by the powers contained in the draft Communications Data Bill.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the long-term viability of the current voluntary system of provision of communications data by overseas companies to UK public authorities.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness with which law enforcement agencies use their powers to intercept communications under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the training of law enforcement officers in understanding and using communications intercept powers; and whether she has any plans to improve that training.
2013-01-09 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs of 18 December 2012, Official Report, column 727W, on Communications Data Bill (Draft), how many representations she has received on the Draft Communications Data Bill; from which UK and international businesses she has received such representations; and if she will make a statement.
2013-01-10 Nick Brown MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of legal obligations under UK law on overseas communications service providers to provide communications data to UK public authorities.
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to paragraph 216 of the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill, HC479, what proposals she has to rationalise the structure of commissioners responsible for differing areas of surveillance oversight.
2013-01-14 Nick Brown MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the principal differences between her proposals contained in the draft Communications Data Bill 2012 and the proposals made by the previous Government under its Intercept Modernisation Programme.
2013-01-15 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2013, Official Report, column 16W, on Communications Data Bill: draft, whether her Department has produced an impact assessment of the draft Communications Data Bill for businesses based in the UK and for investment in the UK; and if she will make a statement.
2013-01-18 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations were made about the Government's draft Communications Data Bill to the UK delegation or in public session at the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai; and by which nations such representations were made.  (Answer: None)
2013-01-28 Dominic Raab MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department currently remunerates (a) telephone companies, (b) internet service providers and (c) others annually for data storage; and what estimate she has made of such figures if the draft Communications Data Bill was passed. (Answer: est for 2012-13 is £15 million)
2013-02-13 David Davis MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish a statement of the categories of expenditure under which costs have been incurred as part of the communications capabilities development programme since 2010; and what proportion of such expenditure was made in respect of (a) consultancy and (b) capital expenditure. (Answer: Of the £405 million that has been spent since May 2010 it is estimated that £55.1 million has been spent on consultancy across the full range of programme activity.)
2013-02-27 Emily Thornberry MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the revised Communications Data Bill will be published. (Answer: A revised Communications Data Bill, incorporating the recommendations of the Joint Committee, will be introduced at the earliest possible opportunity.)
2013-03-12 Katy Clark MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what organisations or individuals she has met to discuss revisions of the draft Communications Data Bill. (Answer: "Details of these meetings are published on the Cabinet Office website on a quarterly basis.")
2013-03-12 Katy Clark MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documents explaining the details of the revised draft Communications Data Bill her Department has prepared and published. (Answer: Alongside the draft Bill, the Government published a range of supporting documents [...] A range of further explanatory material will be published to support the legislative process.")
2013-03-14 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support BAE Systems Detica has provided to her Department in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, (d) 2012 and (e) 2013. (Answer: includes CCDP contracts in 2009, 2010, 2010, 2011, and 2013)
2013-03-18 Pete Wishart MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she has taken to consult (a) the Scottish Government, (b) Scottish local authorities, (c) the Police Service of Scotland and (d) the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency on the revised draft Communications Data Bill. (Answer: Although Communications Data is a reserved matter, this has included meetings with key groups in Scotland that will be affected by the Bill. Details of ministerial consultation are published on the Cabinet Office website on a quarterly basis.)
2013-03-22 Naomi Long MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations she has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive, (b) local authorities and (c) the Police Service of Northern Ireland on the provisions of the revised draft Communications Data Bill. (Answer: ...this has included meetings with key groups in Northern Ireland that will be affected by the Bill.)
2013-04-10 Naomi Long MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she intends to take to ensure that all data held under the provisions in the revised draft Communications Bill will be protected and secure. (Answer: ...Notices issued to communications service providers to generate and retain communications data will detail specific implementation requirements on them. The providers will be required to ensure these are met so that data retained under this legislation are protected against accidental or unlawful destruction, accidental loss and unauthorised access or disclosure...)
2013-04-10 Naomi Long MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what filtering arrangements the Government intends to propose in its revised draft Communications Bill. (Answer: ... We believe the filter to be a safeguard on the acquisition of communications data, as it will limit the collateral intrusion and the data not relevant to an investigation that might be returned to an investigating officer....)
2013-05-20 Nick de Bois MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2013, Official Report, column 119W, on telecommunications, which local authorities provided further information; and if she will make a statement. (Answer: The Local Government Association, the National Anti-Fraud Network, the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers and the London Borough Fraud Investigators' Group submitted the principal responses outlining the continuing requirement for local authorities to have access to communications data.)
2013-05-20 Julian Huppert MP
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the money spent on the Communications Capabilities Development Programme has been paid to service providers under the cost recovery system to date. (Answer: The Communications Capabilities Development Programme funds communications service providers for the delivery of Communications Data (CD) and Lawful Intercept (LI) capabilities. The vast majority of the programme expenditure to date has been on CD and LI delivery under existing legislation, including payments to communications services providers, law enforcement training and programme costs.)
Oral debates and questions
Queen's Speech debate, 9 May 2012
- I say to people, let us of course look at the detail, let us of course consult, but I do not want to be the Prime Minister standing at this Dispatch Box saying “I could have done more to prevent terrorist acts, but we did not have the courage to take difficult steps”.
- [...] something, which some Ministers said will cost £2 billion—the London School of Economics suggests that it will cost £12 billion—that will not be effective against terrorism, but constitutes general-purpose surveillance of the entire nation.
- We on the Liberal Democrat Benches will not sign up to legislation that will add to the intrusion into citizens’ lives that we saw so often from the Labour party when it was in government. [...] Neither we nor the Conservatives are going down that road, and that is why there is a draft proposal, which we will look at carefully. Only if it is acceptable will it get through.
Home Affairs and Justice, 10 May 2012
See Full debate
- As the Home Secretary clearly set out, there will be no single Government database, no real-time monitoring of communications of individuals, and no new powers to intercept e-mails or phone calls of members of the public.
- Understanding whom suspects have contacted, when they did so and where they were at the time can be central to building a case, proving associations between criminals or terrorists and showing that a suspect was at the scene of a crime. Over the past decade, communications data have been used in every major Security Service counter-terrorism investigation and in 95% of all serious crime cases.
- Why does what the Home Secretary is saying suggest the worst excesses of new Labour, and why is she embarking on a snoopers’ charter?
- [...] this proposal is not about creating some giant new Government database, with every single piece of telephone information and e-mail. It is important to bust that myth.
PMQs, 20 June 2012
- It differs enormously [from 2009], because the previous Government’s proposal was to hold all data in a central database. Our proposal would require providers to hold on to their data. He uses the catchphrase, “a snoopers’ charter”, but it is designed to be a criminals’ nightmare.
Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department, 9 July 2012
- [...] the draft Bill, particularly in clause 1, gives very wide powers to the Secretary of State by order. Will he tell us whether the Secretary of State has yet written those orders? In any event, will he give the undertaking that they will be published at the earliest available date?
Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department, 15 October 2012
- Whether she has received legal advice on whether the proposals contained in the draft Communications Data Bill are compatible with the UK’s human rights obligations.
- There is evidence from cases that have been brought to court that one vital tool in catching child abusers is the use of communications data, which is why the draft Communications Data Bill is so important.
Points of Order, 3 December 2012
- A Joint Committee of this House and the other House is meeting at present to pass comment on this Bill. Therefore, apart from traducing a large number of Members of this House, the Home Secretary is undermining the work of that Committee. Has she asked to come to the House to explain herself, and if not, what can you do to protect us, Mr Speaker?
PMQs, 12 December 2012
- Does the Prime Minister still intend to introduce the snooper’s charter, euphemistically known as the communications data Bill? Does he realise that he and his Government will be spying on more people in Britain than all the press barons put together? Where did he get his advice and this idea from? Was it down at Wapping? Was it his friends down there—Rupert, Tony, and Rebekah?
- I really believe that on this issue, the hon. Gentleman is wrong. This is a very important issue—I feel this very strongly, as Prime Minister—in which you have to take responsibility, first and foremost, for security, including national security, and people’s safety. The fact is that communications data—not the content of a telephone call, but the fact that a phone call took place—are used in every single terrorist case, and in almost every single serious crime case. The question in front of the House of Commons, and indeed the House of Lords, is simply this: because we currently have those data for fixed and mobile telephony, what are we going to do as telephony increasingly moves over the internet? We can stand here and do nothing, and not update the law; the consequence of doing that would be fewer crimes solved, and fewer terrorists brought to justice. I do not want to be the Prime Minister who puts the country into that position.
Treasury - Communications Data Bill (Draft), 12 December 2012
- To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an assessment of the potential effects on his public expenditure targets of the future costs implied by the draft Communications Data Bill.
Home Department - Communications Data Bill (Draft), 12 December 2012
- To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations her Department has received on the draft Communications Data Bill from (a) Scotland and (b) the UK.
Home Department - Topical Questions, 7 January 2013
- I thank the right hon. Gentleman and all the Members of this House and the other place who served on the Communications Data Bill’s pre-legislative scrutiny Committee. He is right to say that the report contained a number of recommendations, and we will accept the substance of all of them. We are currently working on the details. This includes talking to the industry, and discussions about the costs started before Christmas. We will obviously look carefully at those discussions, but it would not be right to opine on the question of the costs until we have spoken to all those in the industry that we wish to consult.
Ibrahim Magag, 8 January 2013
- ...it is true that we need access to that communications data. As terrorists and others—organised criminals, paedophiles and others—use new means to communicate, it is important that the Government have access to the communications data from those new means of communications.
Crime and Courts Bill, 7 February 2013
- ...Will he update the Committee on how he sees the new provisions under the draft Communications Data Bill? In particular, how would the restrictions that might be imposed on the use of the powers in clause 36 in relation to people using online technologies fit with the description he has given?
Data Retention, 20 March 2013
- [...] This also causes a massive problem in the amount of electricity that is needed in data centres. Considering that the country is facing an energy shortage, do the Government not agree that perhaps an impact assessment in respect of the data that are required to be retained should be published on the face of each Bill?
Draft Data Communications Bill, 25 March 2013
- What assessment she has made of the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill.
Debate on the Address, 8 May 2012
- I may not totally agree with some of my coalition colleagues, who have wisely escaped the Chamber at the moment, on the communication data Bill. There is no doubt that the use of BlackBerry messaging and other forms of cyber-communication has assisted terrorism and crime. Provided that the Government—as they intend—put in place safeguards to ensure that innocent people do not have all their e-mail traffic hacked, that has to be good news as it will protect the vulnerable and people who are honourable and honest.
Crime: Child Abuse, 4 June 2013
- My Lords, the Minister will be aware that we will shortly lose the ability to identify the IPs of these loathsome people and bring them to justice. Does the Minister agree that it is therefore crucial that we move forward with the communications data Bill?
Communications Data, 15 July 2013
- Whether the Government plan to bring forward legislative proposals on communications data.
- In response to my Written Question E-000512/2011 about the UK Government’s Intercept Modernisation Programme, the Commission responded that it would ‘follow this process closely to ensure that the legislation that will be proposed will be consistent with the obligations of the UK under EC law, including that relating to data protection’.
- Since then, the British Government has announced that the Intercept Modernisation Programme would be replaced by the communications Capabilities Development Programme.
- 1. Could the Commission confirm whether the proposed Communications Capabilities Development Programme would be compatible with EU data protection laws?
- 2. If it is incompatible with EC law, what steps does the Commission intend to take?
Conservative policy announcement
At the Conservative Party conference in September 2014, the Home Secretary Theresa May MP announced that, if they win the 2015 election, they would reintroduce the Communications Data Bill to parliament.
- [...] It remains our position that the case for this proposal still has to be made, and we shall expect to see strong and convincing safeguards and limitations to accompany the Bill.
- If the Information Commissioner is to be in a position to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, in respect of security of retained personal information and its destruction after 12 months, the ICO will need appropriately enhanced powers and the necessary additional resources.
- House of Commons Library Note SN/HA/6373, 2012-07-02
It's not clear which service providers were consulted before the bill was drafted. "A number" were consulted according to the Home Office. Facebook were reported to have not been consulted before the draft was published.
The service provider association ISPA's "concerns include the scope and proportionality, privacy and data protection implications and the technical feasibility." After Nick Clegg suggested rejection of the bill in April, ISPA said "As was raised during the draft bill’s scrutiny by the Joint Committee, we are yet to be convinced that the current proposals for a bill will meet these requirements, in particular the third party data retention requirements and the request filter."
Entanet also bemoaned the lack of consultation during a Draft Communications Data Bill Joint Committee meeting on 23/10/2012. 
"Our other main concern with this is speed. If you're having to route all traffic through one box, it's going to cut down on connection speeds. The hardware can only look at a certain amount of traffic per second - if lots of streams from the BBC iPlayer are going through it, for example, how is it going to handle the traffic?" (ISPA spokesman)
- response to the Open Letter sent by UK Privacy Groups regarding the draft Communications Data Bill - Zen Internet, 2013-04-25
- ISPA concerned with communications data bill - ISPA, 2013-04-25
- Open Rights Group (CCDP page)
- 38 Degrees campaign site
- Liberty Human Rights Campaign (launched 2012-05-09)
List of organisations to contact
Sources of information and presentation materials
- Data Retention Directive (enacted in UK by Statutory Instrument)
- Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
- Communications Data Bill consultation sample letters
- Cabinet Office
- They Work for You
- The Times, 2012-06-14
- BBC News - Communications Bill: 'No plans' to spy on postcards
- 'Black boxes' to monitor all internet and phone data, Channel4, 2012-06-29
- Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter, 2012-06-19
- BBC News - Communications Bill: 'No plans' to spy on postcards
- Home Office structural reform plans
- LBC, 2013-04-25, (19 mins in)
- Nick Clegg: Snooper's Charter 'isn't going to happen', The Register, 2013-04-25
- Communications data, Home Office
- JCHR legislative scrutiny priorities for 2012-13: call for evidence, 2012-05-23
- 2012-11-01, House of Commons
- Theresa May: British values will prevail over extremists, BBC, 2014-09-30
- Clegg accuses May of ‘false and outrageous’ slurs over snooper’s charter, Guardian, 2014-10-02
- Communications Data Bill - Julian Huppert's letter to Theresa May, Julian Huppert MP, 2014-10-02
- http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-06-19a.112852.h Hansard: Databases: Telecommunications], 2012-06-19, "Home Office Ministers and officials consulted a number of telecommunication companies and representative trade associations"
- Communications Data Bill is suffering from a communications breakdown, 2012-06-19, "We genuinely haven't seen anything [from the government] before today."
- Draft Communications Data Bill – ISPA’s initial statement, ISPA, 2012-05-14
- ISPA concerned with communications data bill, 2013-04-25
- Web monitoring plans – open to abuse, Entanet, 2012-05-16
- ISP brands UK internet spying plans 'pointless', ZDnet, 2012-05-17