Monetary penalties for certain unlawful interceptions

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:15 am ar 12 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General 10:15, 12 Ebrill 2016

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his questions. I assure him that there is a very good rationale for the inclusion of these powers. They are a replication of powers that were added to RIPA in 2011. Monetary penalty notices followed a letter of formal notice that was issued by the European Commission setting out its view that the UK had not properly transposed article 5(1) of the e-privacy directive and articles of the data protection directive. In particular, the Commission identified:

“By limiting the offence in Section 1(1) RIPA to intentional interception, the UK had failed to create a sanction for all unlawful interception as required by Article 5(1) of the E-Privacy Directive and Article 24 of the Data Protection Directive.”

The Government rightly conceded the defective transposition that had been identified and therefore the monetary penalty notice regime was established to introduce sanctions for the unintentional and unlawful interception in order to remedy the deficiency.

The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right that it is a step down from a criminal offence, where intention has to be informed, but as my right hon. Friend the Minister for Security said when opening the debate, underpinning all of this is the importance of privacy, and the right to privacy is demonstrated in practical form by the inclusion of clause 6 and schedule 1. It is important so that we cover all aspects of intrusion because, as the hon. and learned Gentleman will know, privacy is not just about confidentiality. That is often misunderstood, particularly in the light of recent debates about injunctions. It is about intrusion into the lives of individuals, and that intrusion by the authorities in particular should be marked in some way by the imposition of some alternative sanction if it cannot be criminal sanctions. Therefore, there is a very sound rationale for the inclusion of these powers and replicating them from RIPA, and therefore I commend the clause to the Committee.