New Clause 1 - Report on the Prime Minister’s engagement with the Intelligence and Security Committee

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment)Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons am 8:15 pm ar 25 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 8:15, 25 Mawrth 2024

You are most kind, Madam Deputy Speaker. When you get to my age, you do not count the years, but you make the years count.

It is an absolute honour and pleasure to follow Theresa Villiers. May I put on the record my thanks to her for her time as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland? We appreciate her commitment and efforts over those years. Her intelligence about and interest in Northern Ireland have not dissipated because she is no longer the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; indeed, they have added to the occasion.

It is a pleasure to speak on the Bill, which, as the Minister will know, I have done on numerous occasions. I am aware of the complexity of the issue and of the need to give privacy its rightful place in our national security. As others have done, I put on the record my thanks to all the security and intelligence services for all that they have done and still do. We owe them a great debt.

During the previous debate, I asked the Minister for his assurances regarding whether the right balance had been struck, yet I have still been contacted by constituents who continue to express their concerns. I will not detain the House for long—about five minutes—but will highlight again the concern that my constituents continue to express, to give them one last chance to receive assurances on the Floor of the House.

My constituents’ remaining concerns relate to something that we in this place have much cognisance of and that we treasure: the freedom within a democratic society to live our lives in peace as long as we are not adversely affecting the lives of others. That is a precious right, and one that none of us in the House wants to remove. I will refer to clauses 1 and 2 and highlight four companies that have expressed concerns to get the Minister’s response. My constituents have highlighted the following:

“In addition to the concerns of civil society, I would like to draw your attention to some of the comments submitted in evidence to the Bill’s Committee from the tech industry.

Apple: ‘In addition to impacting the safety of billions of users around the world who rely on security technologies developed by Apple and other companies, the Bill in its current form would undermine fundamental human rights. In fact, just this year, the European Court of Human Rights held that requiring a company to provide a means to decrypt all encrypted communications on its platform violated the right of privacy in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.’

TechUK: ‘This could impede the ability of TechUK members to modify products and services over time to protect users from active security threats, to innovate, and enhance their services for their users.’

Information Technology Industry Council: ‘We strongly encourage greater scrutiny of these implications so that the Bill will not have a chilling effect on a company’s ability to conduct business or in current or future innovations, and that it will serve to further international efforts on shared goals around trust and security.’

Computer and Communications Industry Association: ‘Over time, this will push tech firms to refocus product development away from addressing the priorities of UK consumers, towards Government demands for access. The obstacles the new regime creates will be a drag on innovation and therefore undermine the quality of digital services on offer.’”