Power to issue warrants to law enforcement officers

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:15 pm ar 21 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 12:15, 21 Ebrill 2016

I am grateful to the Minister. I do not intend to vote against the clause, but I have a nagging concern, which I will try to articulate. A communication in the course of its transmission is highly protected—the Secretary of State must sign off a warrant. The Secretary of State individually considers those warrants and we know the numbers. That is an understandably high level of protection for a communication in the course of its transmission.

We are now talking about where equipment is interfered with to get a communication. It is true to say that if a communication is in the course of its transmission, an equipment interference warrant would not allow the protection in the first part of the Bill to be bypassed. That makes perfect sense. But my nagging concern, I suppose, is that it is the communication itself that ought to be protected; all that is protected at the moment is the fact that it is in the course of its transmission. I accept that that is the current regime and I am not challenging it, but that is my nagging concern.