Clause 5 - Third party bulk personal datasets

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 7 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 12:45, 7 Mawrth 2024

I thank hon. Members for their points. The examination of third-party bulk personal datasets by the intelligence services is vital to their role of protecting the national security and economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom and preventing and detecting serious crime.

Clause 5 places an explicit statutory regime around the intelligence services’ examination, in situ, of bulk datasets held by third parties. The regime would apply only to the intelligence services, in line with the wider part 7 BPD powers in the IPA. The clause puts in place robust oversight and safeguards. For example, third-part dataset warrants are to be subject to a double lock, and the decision to authorise the warrant will need to be approved by both the Secretary of State and an independent judicial commissioner. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner and his office will oversee the regime to ensure the intelligence services’ examination of third-party datasets is both necessary and proportionate. That relates to the point made by the hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East about proportionality and need.

To answer the point made by the hon. Member for Barnsley Central, we do not consider it appropriate to exclude specific types of dataset from those for which a third-party dataset warrant can be sought. The reason is, as he knows, that we can begin to go down very tricky routes on this area, as the intelligence services have a requirement to keep safe not just our democracy but our wider nation. Therefore, limiting those different arguments can be problematic. What we are aiming to do is ensure the proportionality requirement is the test applied by both judicial commissioners and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.

The Secretary of State may issue a warrant authorising the examination of a third-party dataset only where it is necessary and proportionate—that is going to be quite a high bar in some of the areas asked about—for the intelligence service to examine the dataset to which the warrant relates. That decision will be double-locked by an independent judicial commissioner who, among other things, is required expressly to review the Secretary of State’s conclusions in respect of necessity and proportionality when deciding whether to approve the decision to issue a warrant. That is already in the Bill. Each decision will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be subject to prior judicial approval.