House of Commons Library

Investigatory Powers Bill: Lords amendments

Published Friday, October 28, 2016

The Investigatory Powers Bill would overhaul the framework governing the use of surveillance by the intelligence and security agencies and law enforcement to obtain the content of communications and communications data.This paper provides an overview of significant Lords amendments to the Bill.

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Background

The Investigatory Powers Bill was introduced in the House of Commons in March 2016. The Bill would overhaul the framework governing the use of surveillance by the intelligence and security agencies and law enforcement to obtain the content of communications and communications data. It followed three major reports published in 2015, all of which concluded that the law in this area is unfit for purpose and in need of reform.

The Bill completed report stage in the House of Lords on 19 October. It is due to have third reading on 31 October before returning to the Commons for ping pong on 1 November.

This paper is intended to complement Library Briefing Papers Investigatory Powers Bill, which provides an analysis of the Bill as originally introduced in the Commons, and Investigatory Powers Bill: Committee Stage Report. It provides an overview of significant Lords amendments to the Bill.

Amendments

The main amendments to the Bill focused on introducing new or strengthened safeguards with respect to the exercise of powers contained in the Bill or oversight thereof. In many instances Government amendments sought to address concerns expressed by the Opposition and the Intelligence and Security Committee in the Commons. In particular, amendments focussed on:

  • Providing additional safeguards for communications subject to legal professional privilege and confidential journalistic material;
  • Imposing restrictions on access to bulk personal datasets containing sensitive information;
  • Providing further detail, and oversight, on the operational purposes for which warrants may be sought.

The Government suffered one defeat. Baroness Hollins tabled an amendment, with cross party support, seeking to implement a recommendation of the Leveson Inquiry concerning awards of costs in civil litigation. She made it clear that the purpose of the amendment was to exert pressure on the Government to commence section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which would have similar effect.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7746

Author: Joanna Dawson

Topics: Crime, Human rights, Intelligence services, Privacy, Terrorism

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