Warrants that may be issued under this Chapter

Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:00 am ar 12 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Amendment proposed (this day): 57, in clause 13, page 10, line 16, after “content”, insert “or secondary data”.—(Keir Starmer.)

This amendment, and others to Clause 13, seek to expand the requirement of targeted examination warrants to cover the examination of all information or material obtained through bulk interception warrant, or bulk equipment interference warrant, irrespective of whether the information is referable to an individual in the British Islands. They would also expand the requirement of targeted examination warrants to cover the examination of “secondary data” obtained through bulk interception warrants and “equipment data” and “information” obtained through bulk equipment interference warrants.

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

I remind the Committee that with this we are discussing the following:

Amendment 58, in clause 13, page 10, line 17, leave out from “examination” to end of line 18.

Amendment 59, in clause 13, page 10, line 17, leave out from “examination.” to end of line 18 and insert

“of material referable to an individual known to be in the British Islands at that time, or British citizen outside the British Islands at that time.”

Amendment 60, in clause 13, page 10, line 17, leave out from “examination.” to end of line 18 and insert

“of material referable to an individual known to be in the British Islands at that time, or British, Canadian, American, New Zealand or Australian citizen outside the British Islands at that time.”

Amendment 83, in clause 13, page 10, line 22, after “6”, insert—

“In this Part “secondary data” means—

(a) in relation to a communication transmitted by means of a postal service, means any data falling within subsection (5);

(b) in relation to a communication transmitted by means of a telecommunication system, means any data falling within subsection (5) or (6).”

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I am delighted to welcome you to the Chair, Mr Owen. In your absence, under the stewardship of Ms Dorries, we had enlightening and rigorous scrutiny of the early provisions of the Bill and had got to the point of considering the third group of amendments. They are complicated, as illustrated by the shadow Minister’s opening remarks. I was about to go into some detail about the safeguards that we have put in place. So that we are all up to speed, I will mention that I had referred briefly to the recommendations made by the independent reviewer, Mr David Anderson, in his report, “A Question of Trust”, in relation to this area of the Bill—the use of material recovered under bulk warrants. I had reminded the Committee that the provisions before us reflect that advice. The Government have essentially taken the advice of David Anderson and built it into the Bill that we are now considering.

The current bulk access safeguards under the Regulations of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 have, of course, recently been scrutinised by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. After extensive argument, the tribunal ruled that the current approach fully met the UK’s obligations under the European convention on human rights. In particular, the tribunal ruled that it was not necessary to apply the protections that apply to content to related communications data—the other data associated with a communication but not its content that has been redefined as secondary data in the Bill—to ensure ECHR compliance.

Both targeted and bulk warrants authorise the collection of content and secondary data. That, I think, clears up one of the doubts that some Committee members may have had. A bulk warrant also authorises the circumstances in which content and secondary data can be selected for examination. The Secretary of State and the judicial commissioner, when authorising warrants, agree the operational purposes that determine what content and what secondary data can be examined. In other words, at the point when the warrant is issued, both the judicial commissioner, in the arrangements that we propose, and the Secretary of State, in those arrangements and now, are fully aware of the operational reasons for the request. There is no distinction in those terms—again, I think this addresses some of the points raised by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras—between content and secondary data.

Where the difference comes is in relation to the additional protections for persons in the UK. In fact, the hon. and learned Gentleman made reference to this. The Bill makes it clear that examination of the content, once it has been collected, of data relating to persons in the UK can take place only when an additional warrant has been issued. People should bear it in mind that there will already be a bulk warrant authorising collection; this is a separate process from the collection of data. An additional warrant must be issued that specifically authorises examination. There is a warrant to collect data and another warrant to examine data, and at the point when those warrants are considered by the Secretary of State and, under these new arrangements, by the judicial commissioner, the purposes will be clearly defined. The Secretary of State will be aware of why the request is being made and why it matters.

We talked earlier, in a different part of our consideration, about authorising powers only where they are necessary because nothing else will do the job—the point raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I want to emphasise that those considerations, around the broad issues—they are no less important because of their breadth—of proportionality and necessity, will govern all these matters.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To clarify, I think I heard the Minister say—if I misheard him, he can ignore this intervention—that two bulk warrants would be put forward at the same time; one for the intercept and one for the examination. However, I am not sure that is right. I had always read this as one warrant within which different types of conduct are authorised. Therefore, the warrant could—I am looking at clause 119(4)—authorise both the interception and the selection for examination. I may be wrong about that, but I had always understood that one warrant would authorise all the conduct in one fell swoop at the beginning, rather than there being two warrants. If I misheard, I apologise.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Essentially, in order to obtain collection—to have bulk collection and examination—a warrant is required. The Bill makes it clear that the examination of content of persons in the UK requires an additional warrant. That is the point I was making.

Authorisation for persons in the UK does not apply to secondary data, because it is often not possible to determine the location of a person without taking those data. The reason why it looks like there is an inconsistency in respect of a set of data—or it might be perceived that way, without fuller consideration—is that, in relation to secondary data, it is not always possible to determine where someone is until the secondary data have been collected.

The point I made earlier was that it is a well and long-established principle that non-content is less important and less intrusive than content. Content is likely to be more intrusive, so what we are describing in these terms replicates the existing position—the long-established practice—which, as I said, was upheld by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. This is the existing practice, and it has been examined and found to be appropriate and reasonable. I mentioned ECHR compliance in that respect.

I have described the existing regime and its examination, but the regime proposed under the Bill further enhances the safeguards that the security and intelligence agencies already apply when accessing data obtained under a bulk interception warrant. The access arrangements are set out in part 6 of the Bill: for example, secondary data, as well as content, can be accessed only for one or more of the operational purposes specified on the warrant and approved by the Secretary of State and the judicial commissioner. The Bill also includes a requirement that an analyst must consider the necessity and proportionality of any access to any data obtained under a bulk interception warrant in line with the operational purposes. Without putting words into the mouths of Committee members, it could be argued that it is all very well setting out the operational purposes at the outset and that, further, at that point they might be deemed to legitimise the use of the powers in terms of necessity and proportionality, but that that might not be the case further down the line. It is therefore important that we have introduced further analysis of the data collected under the bulk warrant, rather than just when collection is authorised.

Extending targeted examination warrants to non-content data, including secondary data, which is what the amendments propose, would be disproportionate and impractical. That would radically change the bulk data regime, reduce its efficacy and place a substantial burden on the security and intelligence agencies, requiring them to obtain highest level authorisation for data that would often resemble the kind of information routinely collected under a part 3 authorisation.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs)

I remind the Minister that when I spoke before lunchtime, I highlighted the fact that the Intelligence and Security Committee has a concern about secondary data derived from content not being protected. What does the Minister make of the ISC’s concerns? Why have the Government dismissed them?

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I wondered whether the ISC might be raised in this respect. Of course the hon. and learned Lady is right. With her typical diligence she has identified that the ISC does indeed make that point. The answer to the question is that we welcome scrutiny and we invite consideration of these proposals. All of the Committees that looked at these matters made a whole series of recommendations, some of which the Government accepted with alacrity, some of which the Government continue to consider, and some of which the Government do not agree with. It is true that that point has been made, and I said that this might reasonably be argued. However, I think that we have gone far enough in this area in balancing the proper desire for effective safeguards with the operational effectiveness of the agencies.

Bulk collection is really important. Without giving away too much sensitive information, I can happily let the Committee know that as Security Minister I have visited GCHQ, as the Committee would expect me to do. I have looked at the kind of work the staff there do in respect of bulk data collection, and I have seen the effect it has. Contrary to what might be described as a rather crude view of what bulk collection is all about, it is not searching for a needle in any haystack; it is being highly selective about which haystacks are looked at. It is about trying to establish connections, networks and relationships between organisations and individuals; places and people. I have no doubt that without these powers the work of our intelligence and security services would be inhibited. However, I accept that safeguards are needed: I do not for a moment suggest anything else.

I turn now to amendments 58, 59 and 60. These amendments seek to extend the circumstances in which a targeted examination warrant is required beyond the current situation in the Bill, such that they are not limited to persons in the UK. The intention of amendment 58 appears to be that an individual targeted examination warrant would be required from the Secretary of State and a judicial commissioner each time an analyst in an intelligence agency wished to examine the content of any communications acquired under a bulk data interception warrant. This would apply irrespective of where in the world the sender or recipient of the communication was located. As currently drafted, the Bill makes it clear that a targeted examination warrant must be sought if an analyst wished to examine the content of communications of individuals in the British islands which had been obtained under a bulk interception warrant.

Amending the scope of a targeted examination warrant as proposed would, in my view, fundamentally alter the operation of the bulk regime. I am advised to that effect by those who use these powers. There is plainly a rational justification for treating the communications of persons known to be in the British Isles differently to those of persons who are believed to be overseas. Within the UK, the interception of communications is a tool that is used to advance investigations into known threats, usually in conjunction with other capabilities and other tools. Of course, serious investigations of the kind we are talking about are complicated, and very often this will be only one of the means that are used to establish the patterns of activity of the networks I have described and the threats that I have outlined.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Llafur, City of Chester

I seek the Minister’s clarification more than anything else. Is there a view in the Government that there is a difference between the external threat of people who are not in the British Isles and also are not British citizens, as opposed to those who are British citizens? Is it the Government’s view that we have a responsibility to protect the privacy of British citizens, as we are charged to do, as opposed to those who may present an external threat to the United Kingdom?

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 2:15, 12 Ebrill 2016

We legally have different responsibilities with respect to UK citizens. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. UK citizens are protected by all kinds of legal provisions, not only those in this Bill, far from it. He is absolutely right that different circumstances prevail. However, it is slightly more complicated than that, as he knows. We may be talking about people who are British but not in Britain at a particular time, or people who are not British but in Britain at a particular time. We may be speaking about people who are moving in and out of the country. These are often quite complex webs about which we are trying to establish more information. Of course, things such as surveillance and agent reporting will pay a part in this. All the conventional means by which these things are investigated would interface with the tools that the agencies currently use and are given greater detail and more safeguards in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is right to say that we should have an approach that is appropriate to the circumstances and the kind of people we are dealing with.

It is important to emphasise again that applications for targeting reception warrants will be supported by a detailed intelligence case. There has to be a clear operational purpose—a case needs to be made. That means that the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the use of these powers is appropriate. The Bill quite rightly ensures that the agencies must provide the same detailed case if they want to examine communications of a person in the UK that have been intercepted under a bulk warrant.

The hon. Gentleman’s point about threats outside the UK is important, because it is often only through bulk powers of the kind detailed in the Bill that we are able to discover threats outside the UK, particularly in countries such as Syria where we may have little or no physical presence and limited cover in respect of the security services, for obvious reasons. In those circumstances, the amount of information we have to deal with being very limited, bulk interception plays a critical part. It will often be necessary to examine the communications of individuals outside the UK, for obvious reasons, based on partial intelligence—the limited intelligence we have—in order to determine whether they merit further investigation or in order sometimes to eliminate people from the inquiries. Many of the powers that I am describing—indeed many of the powers in the Bill—as well as identifying, qualifying and making further steps more exact, are about eliminating people from consideration, because once we know more, we know they do not pose a real or current threat. It is therefore really important that we understand that this plays a vital role in mitigating the threat to the UK from overseas.

Requiring an analyst to seek permission from the Secretary of State or the judicial commissioner every time they consider it necessary to examine the content of a communication sent by a person outside the UK would inhibit the ability of the security and intelligence agencies to identify new and emerging threats from outside the UK.

I want to emphasise that the scale and character of the threats we face have changed and continue to do so. This is partly because of changing technology, the way in which people communicate, the adaptability of those who threaten us and the complexities of the modern world. Unless we have powers that match—indeed, outmatch—the powers that are in the hands of those who seek to do us harm, we will simply not be able to mitigate those threats in the way that is needed in defence of our country and countrymen.

The current bulk access safeguards under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 have recently been scrutinised. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal found in particular that there was sufficient justification for enhanced safeguards to be applied only where an analyst is seeking to examine the content of people in the British Isles. Nevertheless, the Bill enhances the safeguards and while I am sympathetic to the aims of amendments 59 and 60, they present practical challenges in their own right.

As hon. Members will appreciate, overseas-based individuals discovered in the course of an investigation do not uniformly present their nationality and passport details to agencies, so in practical terms the agencies will simply not be able to do what the amendments require. The amendments could also give rise to discrimination issues. As I explained, there is a clear justification for applying different safeguards to persons located outside the UK, but it is by no means clear that it is necessary to apply different protections to people of a particular nationality. Accordingly, providing for such a distinction in law could place the UK in breach of its international obligations, particularly our obligation not to discriminate on grounds of nationality.

It is right that we take a view about people who are operating in a way that is injurious to our interests from outside the UK, but it is equally right that we do not make prejudgments. Again, we are trying to strike a balance in this part of the Bill. The aim of the Bill is to place vital powers on a statutory footing that will stand the test of time. I believe that the strongest safeguards for the examination of communications, taking into account the challenges of identifying threats outside the UK, are necessary, and that we are in the right place with the Bill.

Finally, amendment 83 relates to the clause 14 definition of secondary data, which sets out how it can be obtained through an interception warrant provided for in part 2 of the Bill. The amendment seeks to replace the current definition in the Bill with a narrower one.

Photo of Suella Fernandes Suella Fernandes Ceidwadwyr, Fareham

Welcome to the Chair, Mr Owen, for my first contribution to this Committee.

Regarding amendments 59 and 60, is it not the position that bulk interception is provided for under section 8(4) of RIPA and is therefore subject to tests of necessity and proportionality? If it relates to a British citizen within the British Isles and an analyst wishes to select for examination the content of the communication of an individual known to be located in the British islands, the analyst has to apply to the Secretary of State for additional authorisation under section 16(3) of RIPA—similar to section 8(1). There are robust and extensive safeguards in place for this purpose.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I am delighted to be able to say in response to that extremely well informed intervention that my hon. Friend is right. The Bill does not actually add to bulk powers, contrary to what some have assumed and even claimed. In the sense that it reinforces safeguards and maintains the ability of our agencies to collect bulk data, it builds on what we already do. The Bill pulls together much of the powers in existing legislation; part of its purpose is to put all of those powers in one place, making them easier to understand and more straightforward to navigate. She is absolutely right; we took those powers in RIPA because they were needed to deal with the changing threats and the character of what we knew we had to do to counter them. That was done in no way other than out of a proper, responsible desire to provide the intelligence agencies with what they needed to do their jobs.

To return to amendments 59 and 60, when people are discovered to be outside the country and are subject to an investigation by the security services they do not usually present their credentials for examination, and it is important that the powers we have fill what would otherwise be a gaping hole in our capacity to do what is right and necessary. The aim of the Bill is to place vital powers on a statutory footing that will stand the test of time.

Amendment 83 relates to clause 14 and the definition of secondary data. It is important to point out that it has always the case that an interception warrant allows communications to be obtained in full. Historically, that has been characterised in law as obtaining the content of communication and of any accompanying “related communications data”. However, as communications have become more sophisticated it has become necessary to revise the definitions to remove any ambiguities around the distinction between content and non-content data and to provide clear, simple and future-proof definitions that correctly classify all the data the intercepting agents require to carry out their functions.

Secondary data describes data that can be obtained through an interception warrant other than the content of communications themselves. Those data are less intrusive than content, but are a broader category of data than communications data. For example, it could include technical information, such as details of hardware configuration, or data relating to a specific communication or piece of content, such as the metadata associated with a photographic image—the date on which it was taken or the location—but not the photograph itself, which would, of course, be the content.

I want to make it clear that the data will always, by necessity, be acquired through interception. The definition does not expand the scope of the data that can be acquired under a warrant, but it makes clearer how the data should be categorised. Interception provides for the collection of a communication in full and the amendment would not serve to narrow the scope of interception. It would, however, reduce the level of clarity about what data other than content could be obtained under a warrant. It would also have the effect of undermining an important provision in the Bill. In some cases secondary data alone are all that are required to achieve the intended aim of an operation or investigation. That is an important point. Another misconception is that it is always necessary to acquire content to find out what we need to know. In fact, sometimes it is sufficient to acquire simpler facts and information. For that reason, clause 13 makes it clear that obtaining secondary data can be the primary purpose of an interception, and the kind of data that can be obtained under a warrant is also set out.

Narrowing the scope of secondary data would reduce the number of occasions on which the operational requirement could be achieved through the collection of those data alone, resulting in greater interference with privacy where a full interception warrant is sought. Where we do not need to go further we should not go further. Where secondary data are sufficient to achieve our purposes, let that be so.

Secondary data are defined as systems data and identifying data included as part of or otherwise linked to communications being intercepted. Systems data is any information that enables or facilitates the functioning of any system or service: for example, when using an application on a phone data will be exchanged between the phone and the application server, which makes the application work in a certain way. Systems data can also include information that is not related to an individual communication, such as messages sent between different network infrastructure providers, to enable the system to manage the flow of communications.

Most communications will contain information that identifies individuals, apparatus, systems and services or events, and sometimes the location of those individuals or events. The data are operationally critical to the intercepting agencies. In most cases, the information will form part of the systems data, but there will be cases when it does not. When the data are not systems data and can be logically separated from the communication, and would not reveal anything of what might reasonably be considered to be the meaning of the communication, they are identifying data. For example, if there are email addresses embedded in a webpage, those could be extracted as identifying data. The definitions of systems data and identifying data make clearer the scope of the non-content data that can be obtained under the interception warrant.

The fact that the definition of secondary data is linked to clear, central definitions of systems and identifying data ensures that there can be consistent application of powers across the Bill to protect privacy and that data can be handled appropriately regardless of the power under which it has been obtained.

In a nutshell, the Bill provides a clearer breakdown of the kinds of data, why they matter, and where they might be identified and used in a way that would be hard to identify in the variety of legislation that currently underpins the powers. It brings things together and makes them clearer. With that fairly lengthy but necessarily detailed explanation, I invite hon. Members not to press the amendments.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Llafur, City of Chester 2:30, 12 Ebrill 2016

Mr Owen, it is traditional that hon. Members recognise the Chair. I do so not only because of your consummate skills in chairmanship, but because as the Member for Ynys Môn you bring back happy childhood memories of many childhood summer holidays in Benllech, Red Wharf Bay, Llangefni market and suchlike.

I listened to the Minister’s detailed explanations—I pay tribute to him for the length and the detail he went to—sometimes with the vision of a wet towel around my head invoked by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras. This is not a very politically correct thing to say and hon. Members may find it disappointing, but frankly I do not give a tinker’s cuss whether, in the defence of the realm, we seek access to information from outside the UK or outside British citizenry. Parliament has a responsibility to this country and we will exercise that. As we have discussed, we also have a responsibility to British citizens to respect their privacy. The crux of the Bill is the balance that we will achieve between those two competing demands.

I am not clear yet, particularly in respect of the point made by my hon. and learned Friend, as to whether the question of secondary data that will be extracted and that affects UK citizens has been correctly answered. If the Minister can give an assurance—I appreciate that he has already given a long and detailed answer—of his confidence that the privacy of UK citizens or people within the UK can be properly protected, I am sure we would be able to move on. The balance that we need to strike between protecting the privacy of UK citizens and protecting their personal security and the security of the nation is difficult.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

To be absolutely clear, the means of the acquisition of content and secondary data and the operational purposes for which those data can be selected for examination will be explicitly authorised by the judicial commissioner and the Secretary of State. The operational case for the collection of those data must be explicit and sufficiently persuasive that the warrant is granted by the Secretary of State and by the judicial commissioner. I hope that gives the hon. Gentleman the assurance he desires.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Llafur, City of Chester

I am most grateful for that assurance and explanation and, indeed, for the previous explanation. The Minister has gone into considerable depth on the matter and I am most grateful for that.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

I, too, welcome you to the Chair of this Committee, Mr Owen. It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship.

The assurance that has just been asked for cannot be given because the whole purpose of the provision is to enable the secondary data of any of us in this room that is caught by a bulk interception warrant to be looked at without any further warrant. If my data is swept up in a bulk interception warrant, even though I am not the target it can be examined without a separate warrant. That goes for every member of the Committee, every member of the public and everybody residing in the British Isles. The neat distinction between people here and people abroad breaks down in relation to this clause. I want us to be clear about that. The Minister is making the case that that is perfectly appropriate and necessary and that there are sufficient safeguards in place, but he is not making the case that this would not happen for those in the British Isles. It can and undoubtedly does happen, and it will happen under this regime. That means that all our secondary data are caught by this provision, even where we are not the primary target.

The Minister pointed to the double lock and the roles of the Secretary of State and judicial commissioner. He took an intervention on that, but I want to be absolutely clear on what those roles are and how necessity and proportionality play out. Clause 125 sets out what requirements must be met by a bulk interception warrant. Subsection (3) says:

“A bulk interception warrant must specify the operational purposes for which any intercepted content or secondary data obtained under the warrant may be selected for examination.”

The Minister points to that and says that there has got to be an operational purpose, which is true. However, we then read just how specific that operational purpose is likely to be:

“In specifying any operational purposes, it is not sufficient simply to use the descriptions contained in section 121(1)(b) or (2)”.

Those are just the general descriptions of national security and preventing serious crime, so it is not enough to say that the operational reason is national security or to prevent serious crime. Well, good—that that is all that had to be specified, it would not be very much. However, the purposes may still be general purposes, so the operational purposes are likely to be very broad—necessarily so in practical terms, given that it is a bulk warrant.

The role of the Secretary of State and the judicial commissioner is to decide whether the warrant is necessary and proportionate according to those purposes. We keep using the words “necessary and proportionate”. We have to keep an eye on what the object of the necessity and proportionality is. The question for the Secretary of State and the judicial commissioner is whether it is necessary and proportionate for the very broad operational purposes that are permitted under clause 125. It is not a very detailed, specific examination by the Secretary of State or the judicial commissioner; nor could it be.

At some later date, there is further consideration when it comes to examination. If it was suggested that at the later stage of actual examination, rather than authority for examination, it goes back to the Secretary of State and judicial commissioner, that is just plain wrong. It does not go back at all. All that the judicial commissioner or Secretary of State do is to authorise the general purposes under the warrant. As far as selection is concerned, that is governed by clause 134(1) and (2). Subsection (2) specifies that:

“The selection of intercepted content or secondary data for examination”

—that is at the heart of what we are talking about—

“is carried out only for the specified purposes”.

That relates to back to subsection (1). It continues,

“only so far as is necessary”

—necessary to what? It then refers straight back to the “operational purposes” set out in clause 125. Even at that later stage, the question of necessity and proportionality is against the very broad operational purposes. The Minister has been very clear about this and I am not suggesting otherwise, but the idea that there is some forensic and carefully curtailed exercise that looks in detail at the individual circumstances of the case is pretty far-fetched. In the end, all anyone has to do is ask whether it is necessary or proportionate to the general operational purposes upon which the warrant was issued in the first place. That is very different from the test set out for targeted interception. It is the test that will be applied to all the secondary data of anybody in this room who ever finds themselves caught up in a bulk interception warrant. That is not far-fetched. There will be many bulk intercept warrants, which may well capture the content and secondary data of many members of the public who are not targets in any way.

As a result, although I applaud the Minister for his long and detailed answer, it was not very persuasive regarding the necessity of this scheme or the effectiveness of the safeguards. Simply saying that secondary data may be necessary to determine location is hardly enough to justify the provision. I recognise that secondary data are different to content and that bulk powers are different from targeted powers, but in the end, when this is unravelled, it shows that there is no effective safeguard. In the circumstances we will not divide the Committee on the amendment, but I reserve the right to return to the matter at a later stage. It goes to the heart of the Bill. When properly analysed and understood, the safeguard in this respect is barely a safeguard at all.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I do not want to delay the Committee unduly, but I will offer this response. First, I direct the hon. and learned Gentleman to the “Operational Case for Bulk Powers”, which specifies the ways in which bulk powers will be used. The operational case will be specific. I am grateful to him for not pressing the amendment. I am happy to write to the Committee to reinforce our arguments and I think that we might reach a Hegelian synthesis—I am very keen on Hegel, as he knows. I agree that it is often necessary to examine the secondary data to determine the sender—he knows that that is the case—but I disagree about the lack of specificity on the operational purposes. We cannot give too much detail on that, for the reasons of sensitivity that he will understand, but I am happy to write to him to draw his and the Committee’s attention to the “Operational Case for Bulk Powers”, which is targeted at overseas threats but might, as he properly said, draw in some data from those who are in the UK. I hope that when I write to him he might decide not to bring these matters back further. I am grateful for his consideration.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs)

I, too, welcome you to the Chair, Mr Owen. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship.

Before lunch, I spoke to amendment 83, concerning secondary data. I did not speak amendment 84, because it was tabled but not selected, but it is really a corollary: it proposes leaving out clause 14.

I have listened carefully to what the Minister has said and I am grateful to him for his detailed explanation, but he does not take on board the concerns that I attempted to articulate on secondary data, notwithstanding the fact that similar concerns were articulated by the Intelligence and Security Committee. We will have to agree to differ for the time being. I associate myself with the comments made by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras about the other issues relating to the these amendments, in particular his pertinent and typically incisive point about clause 125(3).

Having sought clarification this morning from the Chair on the voting procedures, I do not intend to push the amendment to a vote, because I think that I would end up with something of a pyrrhic victory. However, I emphasise that I stand by the necessity for the grouped amendments and wish to revisit them later during the passage of the Bill. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 14