Data Retention and Emergency Powers Bill

Statement on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

Fabian has decided to abstain in the vote to be taken in the House of Commons on Tuesday 15th July 2014.

The coalition government, with agreement both from the leaders of the Labour and the Liberal Democrat Party has agreed to pass emergency legislation that will require telephone and internet service providers to retain information on the connections their customers have effected. Whilst not authorising the state to eavesdrop on every conversation or email exchange, retention of the connection data will continue to enable police and security services to use such information to combat terrorism and crime.

The emergency legislation, which is being rushed through into law as soon as possible, follows the recent European Court ruling that the retention of such data by telecommunications companies infringes Human Rights. Retention of such data by telecommunications companies under the present legal framework leaves them open to claims for damages. With an incentive to delete records, the security services view is that the on-going fight against crime and terror would be compromised following the European Court of Justice ruling. This emergency Bill is a temporary measure and the powers it gives will automatically lapse at the end of 2016.

The Bill will almost certainly quickly receive the Royal Assent as it will be backed and approved by almost all MPs in the three main parties. Fabian is using his prerogative to abstain to join those other MPs who, like him, are sceptical about the value and quality of emergency legislation. In particular he is very concerned about the limited time provided for debate and the way that appropriate and necessary safeguards will not be fully considered.

Useful links

BBC Web Site Emergency phone and internet data laws to be passed
BBC Web Site What emergency data law means for you