HomeInsightsGovernment launches consultation on Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and draft Code of Practice


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The Government is proposing to amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 by Regulations made under s 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

The Government says that although it does not normally consult on such Regulations, given the ongoing public interest in investigatory powers it considers it important to consult on potential changes to the legislative regime in order to inform the legislative response and subsequent Parliamentary debate.

The proposed provisions include:

  • the introduction of independent authorisation of communications data requests by a new body, known as the Office for Communications Data Authorisations, under the Investigatory Powers Commissioner Lord Justice Fulford;
  • restricting the use of communications data to investigations into serious crime;
  • additional safeguards which must be taken into account before a Data Retention Notice can be given to a telecommunications or postal operator;
  • clarification of the circumstances in which notification of those whose communications data has been accessed can occur; and
  • mandatory guidance on the protection of retained data in line with European data protection standards.

The Government is also consulting on the draft Communications Data Code of Practice, which sets out how the safeguards governing the retention of communications data by telecommunications operators and its acquisition by public authorities will operate.

The Government says that representations are welcomed from telecommunications operators and postal operators, public authorities that have powers under the 2016 Act, as well as professional bodies, interest groups and the wider public. The consultation closes at 11.45 pm on 18 January 2018. To read the Home Office press release in full and to access the consultation, click here.