The Intelligence and Security Committee in the UK has deemed the latest Draft Investigatory Powers Bill as a “missed opportunity,” according to its latest report.
The bill addresses issues regarding the authorization of mass data collection and hacking by British spies, aiming to give such activity a more comprehensive legal framework.
However, the Intelligence and Security Committee claim that this latest version of the bill represents a clear “missed opportunity.”
The report states: “Taken as a whole, the draft Bill fails to deliver the clarity that is so badly needed in this area.
“We had expected to find universal privacy protections applied consistently throughout, or at least an overarching statement at the forefront of the legislation.”
The latest bill is not final as the Home Office is still due to publish a final, amended version later this year.
Committee chairman, Dominic Grieve, has put forward recommendations, which contain a completely different section which is solely dedicated to overarching privacy protections.
One of the key recommendations relates to equipment interference. The new bill covers an agency’s ability to conduct equipment interference in order to obtain information, whereas other IT operations remain under the ruling set out in the Intelligence Services Act 1994.
The ICS are calling for all IT operations to be brought under the same legislations, “with the same authorization process and the same safeguards.”
Some groups across the UK feel that the legislation was rushed and doesn’t address the real issues at hand.
Jim Killock, member of the Open Rights Group, stated: “Rushing through legislation has to stop. It’s time for a proper debate about whether bulk surveillance powers are acceptable in a democracy like the UK.”