ITSPA cautiously satisfied with proposed IP Bill changes

ITSPA, the voice of the next generation communications industry in the UK has accepted the proposed revisions made to the Investigatory Powers Bill as a useful next step in the process of passing the legislation. The changes, published today follow on from three recent parliamentary committee reports which called for improvements to ensure that the Bill was fit for purpose.

Eli Katz, the Chair of ITSPA stated “Whilst ITSPA generally accepted the main principles of the Bill on its original draft publication in November, we did agree with the three Parliamentary Committee reports that more needed to be done to ensure the balance and proportionality around security, privacy and feasibility were maintained. The devil will be in the detail but we welcome some of the changes that have been included to help in resolve some of the concerns.”

“Specifically, the addition of six codes of practice to set out how security services will use powers in the Bill is a welcome inclusion. Additionally, the clarification that a pragmatic approach to encryption, whereby communications providers will only be required to decrypt communications that they have added themselves and only when practicable, is welcome. What happens in practice still remains to be seen.”

In principle ITSPA has always understood the reasoning behind the proposed Bill and in many circumstances there will be no changes to what our members currently do to assist law enforcement agencies in tackling crime. ITSPA has welcomed the principles of developing stronger oversight mechanisms and streamlining the current legal powers, which have become extremely complicated and unwieldy for communications providers to understand.

Katz added “The Home Office’s approach to this Bill has been much improved since its predecessor in 2012 and they have generally communicated with industry in an effective manner. We do now urge Government to continue that engagement process to address remaining areas of ambiguity in the Bill and stress the need for enough Parliamentary time to ensure the legislation is reviewed properly”.