Nicholas Brown MP

Nick Brown is the Labour MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne East.

Communications Data Bill

Nick Brown served on the joint select committee.

Parliamentary questions

On 14/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

There are significant differences between the proposals in the Draft Bill and the Interception Modernisation Programme developed by the last Government. We are not proposing a single Government database to store all communications data. Under our programme, the emphasis is on developing relationships with industry to determine the best solution on a case by case basis. Any retained communications data would be stored by the communications service providers themselves. This Government is committed to preserving civil liberties, and has already legislated to ensure that local authorities must seek prior approval from a magistrate before acquiring communications data.[1]

On 10/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

We have relationships with overseas providers covering a range of issues. In giving evidence to the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill on 6 September, a number of providers made clear that they had a healthy relationship with UK law enforcement. We assess that most major overseas communication service providers provide relatively good levels of co-operation and will be ready to discuss our additional requirements under the proposed legislation.[2]

On 10/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

The current arrangements for surveillance oversight reflect the distinct roles that each commissioner must perform. We considered whether the existing structure should be rationalised and consulted on our proposals in the Justice and Security Green Paper in 2011. In the responses to consultation, there was very little support for the suggested changes. We will, as proposed by the Joint Committee, continue to keep this issue under review and are willing to consider alternative models of oversight if likely to improve the system and increase public reassurance.[3]

On 08/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

The Communications Capabilities Development Programme's business case is being revised at present. We will provide the new estimates in an impact assessment alongside a revised Bill.[4]

On 08/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

The Government has received the report of the Joint Committee on the Communications Data Bill and accepted the substance of all its recommendations. We will discuss these issues with the incoming Interception of Communications Commissioner, in order to ensure that he has the powers and resources he requires to fulfil his duties under the proposed legislation. We are looking at the definitions of communications data, given the wide array of information held by some social media platforms. We will address this issue in consultation with communications service providers. We also accept the Committee's proposal for a centralised Single Point of Contact (SPoC), on the basis that it will ensure the appropriate expertise is in place to safeguard access to communications data. A full response to the Committee's report will be issued to Parliament in due course. The Government is committed to post-legislative scrutiny of its legislation. [5]

RIPA

On 08/01/2013

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.

James Brokenshire MP answered

The 2008 Privy Council Review of Intercept as Evidence stated that interception “is essential for national security and so must be retained and protected”. In his 2011 report, the Interception of Communications Commissioner states that“lawful interception and the use of communications data represent significant, cost-effective tools in the fight against the growing number and variety of threats faced by the citizens of the UK.” Interception is used as part of a range of investigative techniques to combat terrorism and tackle serious crime. [6]

Surgeries

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Links

References

  1. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-14a.134901.h&s=communications+data+bill#g134901.q0
  2. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-10a.135514.h&s=communications+data+bill#g135514.r0
  3. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-10a.135515.h&s=communications+data+bill
  4. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-08a.134909.h&s=communications+data+bill
  5. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-08a.134890.h&s=communications+data+bill#g134890.q0
  6. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-08a.134904.h&s=data+protection#g134904.r0


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