Clause 5 - Third party bulk personal datasets

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:30 pm ar 7 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security) 12:30, 7 Mawrth 2024

Amendment 16 relates to third-party BPDs, specifically the use of the marked electoral register, which is a copy of the electoral register usually arranged by a polling station area or ward with names crossed off to indicate who has voted. Copies are available for political parties to buy from local authorities and add to their records, which aid with canvassing and voter engagement on the basis that a person who has previously voted has a higher propensity to vote again, and for that purpose alone.

Compared with the electoral register, the marked electoral register contains a record of individuals who have exercised their democratic right at the ballot box. The Opposition understand entirely that it would be appropriate for copies of the marked electoral register to be examined in an investigation into electoral fraud. Any attempts to undermine our democratic process must be dealt with with the utmost seriousness. However, we do not believe that it is appropriate or proportionate for information relating to voting records, contained in such documents, to be authorised as a third-party BPD. That could establish links between individuals or better understand a subject of interest’s behaviour.

More widely, we have concerns about records of democratic activity, such as any relating to trade union membership, being examined as a third-party BPD. Does the Minister agree that copies of the marked electoral register should be used to defend and strengthen our democratic processes, and for those purposes alone, and that safeguards should be in place to protect other data relating to democratic activity from being examined as a third-party BPD?