SWISS CLINIC CANDIDATE the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill has taken another beating in the form of a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC).
The ISC Report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (PDF) said that Theresa May's surveillance pony is a dead donkey and peppered with problems. This is not the first time that this has been suggested, and it will not be the last. The bill has a very thick skin, however, and is not beaten down easily.
The ISC has plenty of concerns. It would like to see talk of 'class bulk personal dataset warrants' removed from the documents, and baulks at the confused definitions of 'communications' data, which it describes as "currently inconsistent and confusing".
These are cruel and dark waters with a Moby Dick-sized problem. Plenty of people want to torpedo the bill, thankfully, and they are pleased that the ISC is on common ground.
TechUK, which, like the UK government, represents local industry, is keen on the negative response and what it might mean for the progress of the bill. The organisation wants more clarity, which is a regular theme of discussions on the subject.
"Today's report from the ISC again makes it clear that the bill lacks clarity on fundamental issues, such as core definitions of key terms, encryption and equipment interference," said Antony Walker, deputy CEO of TechUK.
"Our members are unsure exactly what is meant by Internet Connection Records, how they will be gathered, stored and accessed. This kind of detail is crucial to understanding the impact of the proposed bill."
More obviously opposed is Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock, who has long opposed the bill in all its forms. He agreed with TechUK on the clarity question and with the ISC's suggestion that the bill looks a bit rushed.
"There have been suggestions that a new version of the bill will be published by the end of February. The Home Office needs a lot longer than two weeks to redraft the bill. Theresa May must ensure that the ISC's very serious and considered demands are dealt with in full," he said.
"Rushing through legislation has to stop. It's time for a proper debate about whether bulk surveillance powers are acceptable in a democracy like the UK." µ
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