R44 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for the Home Department

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Saracen's Fez
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What is this thread about?
This is a ministerial report in the Model House of Commons (MHoC). Ministers have some powers that don't need them to pass new legislation, and a ministerial report is how they use these powers in the MHoC system. This might be voted on if the minister, the prime minister or the leader of the opposition wants to call a vote, otherwise it will pass straight away. All are welcome and encouraged to ask questions about the report's content and join in the debate – you don't have to be in a party or be an MP to do so.

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It's a political role-playing game where we pretend to be the House of Commons, and it's been going since 2005. We have formed parties, we have elections twice a year, and we debate bills and motions just like the real-life parliament. If you want to know more about how the MHoC works, your first port of call is the user manual. If you'd like to get involved and possibly join a party, you want the welcome thread.


R44 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for the Home Department
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Ministerial Report from Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
A more transparent investigatory system

Mr Speaker,

We are living in a world where more and more data is held in the digital realm; we are living evermore ‘digital’ lives and leaving ever larger digital footprints - footprints which are sometimes used in the prevention of crime and in the interests of national security. The Investigatory Powers Act [1], passed in 2016, gives power to the intelligence community and bodies of the United Kingdom to undertake electronic surveillance to do exactly that: prevent and resolve crime.

Whilst the Act defined and expanded powers appropriately in certain areas, it is our belief that the powers that this Act bestows are far too encompassing, lacking transparency and accountability. This Government was explicitly elected upon a manifesto that would review said powers, and we shall do so.

In the coming weeks, a clause by clause review of the Act will take place to streamline and focus the remit of our intelligence community - to time critical events - whilst not unduly impairing its ability to prevent crime, and maintain national security; this will be presented to the House once complete.

However, we shall be taking immediate steps to address a glaring issue with the Act.

Schedule 4 sets out the ‘designated public authorities’ who are permitted access to internet communications without express consent issued by a warrant. Whilst we believe the access of internet communications without warrant by certain public authorities, notably the police forces of the UK, to be proportionate, we strongly believe that other authorities should not be named in Schedule 4. Hence, under the authority bestowed in Section 71(1) which stipulates that the “Secretary of State may by regulations modify section 70 or Schedule 4,” the modifications will be made in line with Appendix 1 with justifications provided for each action - whether expansion, restriction or removal - and where possible, a response to the justifications provided by each department or entity. [2]

In summary, the following institutions will have their powers under the Investigatory Powers Act remain unchanged:-
- Police force maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996;
- Metropolitan police force;
- City of London police force;
- Police Service of Scotland;
- Police Service of Northern Ireland;
- British Transport Police Force;
- Ministry of Defence Police;
- Royal Navy Police;
- Royal Military Police;
- Royal Air Force Police;
- Security Service;
- Secret Intelligence Service;
- GCHQ;
- National Crime Agency;
- An ambulance trust in England;
- Criminal Cases Review Commission;
- A fire and rescue authority under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004;
- Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority;
- Independent Police Complaints Commission;
- Information Commissioner;
- Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust;
- Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board;
- Office of Communications;
- Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland;
- Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
- Scottish Ambulance Service Board;
- Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission;
- Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust;
The following institutions will have their powers under the Investigatory Powers Act removed in full:-
- Department of Health;
- Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs;
- Department for Work and Pensions;
- Competition and Markets Authority;
- Department for Communities in Northern Ireland;
- Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland;
- Financial Conduct Authority;
- Food Standards Agency;
- Food Standards Scotland;
- Gambling Commission;
- Health and Safety Executive;
- National Health Service Business Services Authority;
- Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation;

The following institutions will have their powers under the Investigatory Powers Act restricted:-
- Ministry of Justice;
- Department for Transport;
- Department of Justice in Northern Ireland;

The following institutions will have their powers under the Investigatory Powers Act expanded:-
- Home Office
- Serious Fraud Office;

Furthermore, we shall begin requiring the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to report on a rolling basis - not simply annually - to the Home Office and to myself, on matter surrounding oversight with a new specific prerogative of ‘ascertaining disportonitate utilisations of authorisations’. In order to increase transparency surrounding the exercise of the powers this Act bestows, we shall also require the Commissioner to publicly publish his/her report, once any found issues have been tackled, any open investigations have been concluded, and sensitive information redacted appropriately.

It is with these measures that we reaffirm the right to privacy, and a private life whilst balancing the need for collective security; it is with these measures that we bring trust and accountability back into investigatory system; it is with these measures that, I commend this Report to the House.

[1] http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...ntents/enacted
[2] https://assets.publishing.service.go...uthorities.pdf


Appendix 1
Police force maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996; Metropolitan police force; City of London police force; Police Service of Scotland; Police Service of Northern Ireland; British Transport Police Force; Ministry of Defence Police; Royal Navy Police; Royal Military Police; Royal Air Force Police
We believe communications data and the timely utilisation of said data to be a vital aspect of the work of all police forces, working as a important stream of information to actively respond to developing incidents of the largest magnitudes. To that end, there will be no change.


Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, and the Ministry of Defence
As above, the timely utilisation of data is a vital aspect of the security services and vital for active defence in the United Kingdom; given the often sensitive nature of the work of these entities, we believe the provisions of this Act must continue to apply to these entities. To that end, there will be no change


Department of Health
We believe that the use of communications data without warrant must be limited to the prevention of serious physical crime, and the protection and rescue of individuals in the immediate term. The use of communications data for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Anti-Fraud Unit though justified by said agency in order to detect counterfeits online and act accordingly is not a time critical exercise. In the case studies provided by the MHRA and Anti-Fraud Unit, whilst the presence of data was vital to operations, the speed and accountability were not factors. To that end, the Department of Health will no longer be a designated public authority under Schedule 4 - due process must be followed, and where appropriate requests be made through the Serious Fraud Office.


Home Office
The protection of our borders is a time critical exercise, requiring the extensive use of communications data to prevent and respond to serious crime: notably, human trafficking, terrorism, and the supply of arms. It is imperative that the Home Office retains the power to access communications data. To that end, the Home Office shall have powers expanded in its position as a designated public authority to, remaining subject to existing safeguards, include all members of staff, equivalent to or higher in status than inspector in all remits.


Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice has a highly limited remit in terms of usage of communications data, utilising said data to ascertain the usage of mobile devices within prisons and react accordingly to prevent the development of extremism - which would otherwise be difficult without communications data. That being said, we believe that this is not a time critical exercise. To that end, the Ministry of Justice shall have powers restricted to authorisations obtained from the Secretary of State.


National Crime Agency
{see Security Service et al.}


Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
Fraud is a serious offence - however, not time critical; rather the greater the investment in resources, often the greater return in terms of clarity and links. Whilst we acknowledge that communications data may form a basis for further investigation, any investigation must take time and be cohesive in nature. To that end, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs shall no longer be a designated public authority, in its own right, under Schedule 4 - however, more emphatic links will be made with the Serious Fraud Office.


Department for Transport
According to the Department for Transport, communications data is used in the interests of public safety to ‘conduct meaningful investigations’ - i.e. through detecting whether the use of mobile devices was a contributing factor in an incident, or to locate missing persons. The latter is an important, time critical and, we believe, proportionate usage of communications data and shall remain unimpeded. In respect to the former, it is our belief that communications data must form a wider part of the investigation which ought to use different, more accountable pathways. To that end, the Department for Transport shall have powers restricted to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency only; that is to say, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, the Air Accident Investigation Branch, and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch shall no longer be designated public authorities.


Department for Work and Pensions
As with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, we note the concerns surrounding fraud - however, again, wish to see a greater utilisation of more accountable pathways through the SFO. In terms of the Child Maintenance Group, we believe it is incredibly disproportionate to employ communications data to resolve child maintenance disputes. To that end, the Department for Work and Pensions shall no longer be a designated public authority under Schedule 4


An ambulance trust in England
Provisions exist in the Communications Act of 2003 that replicate certain aspects of the power vested through the Investigatory Powers Act; given the time critical nature of the need for communications data in emergency situations, we will be reinforcing the powers granted to ambulance services in the Communications Act. Until and unless this proceeds, there will be no change


Competition and Markets Authority
Once again, fraud is an offence that ought not be tackled using the disproportionate and automatic utilisation of communications data; where warranted, communications data can be obtained through normalised channels. To that end, the Competitions and Markets Authority shall no longer be a designed public authority.


Criminal Cases Review Commission
Given the niche and nature of the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, it is not always in the best interests of justice to inform a suspect or subscriber of the preliminary steps of investigation until and unless it has been ascertained that a link has been established. To that end, there will no change


Department for Communities in Northern Ireland; Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
{see Competition and Markets Authority}


Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
{see Ministry of Justice}


Financial Conduct Authority
{see Competition and Markets Authority}


A fire and rescue authority under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
{see An ambulance trust in England}


Food Standards Agency; Food Standards Scotland
{see Competition and Markets Authority}


Gambling Commission
{see Competition and Markets Authority}


Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
As an authority utilising Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) powers, it is imperative that the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is supported as such. There will be no change


Health and Safety Executive
{see Competition and Markets Authority}


Independent Police Complaints Commission
{see Police force maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996 et al.}


Information Commissioner
As the ultimate regulator of the provision of data, of all types, it is imperative that unimpeded access remains. There will be no change.


National Health Service Business Services Authority
{see Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs}


Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust; Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
{see An ambulance trust in England}


Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
{see National Health Service Business Services Authority}


Office of Communications
{see Information Commissioner}


Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
{see Independent Police Complaints Commission}


Scottish Ambulance Service Board
{see An ambulance trust in England}


Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
{see Criminal Cases Review Commission}


Serious Fraud Office
Whilst in separate departments we do not see the utilisation of communications data through the Investigatory Powers Act to be proportionate, there are specified circumstances in which communications data obtained through unconventional channels may be beneficial or fundamental to a claim. To that end, the Serious Fraud Office shall have powers expanded as to act as a collective point of enhanced review and scrutiny.


Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust
{see An ambulance trust in England}
Last edited by Saracen's Fez; 1 year ago
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To clarify, the actions set out are within the minister's executive powers, and so if this report is passed they will be deemed to be implemented in full.
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Jammy Duel
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While the intentions are sound given how opaque the IPA is and contrary to British values in places there are a few things that need to be said.

First and foremost is that the statement either does nothing or makes undefined changes. For instance Schedule 4 of the Act sets out the relevant public authorities, the minimum rank required, the type of data they may obtain (in many cases there being two ranks given with the lower having very limited access), and for what reasons they may obtain it. For example we can look at the Met:
Met.PNG

It is most logical to start with the right hand column as this sets out the reasons they can access the data which are set out in s. 61(7), in this case paragraphs a, b, c, d, e, g, and i: National security; prevention or detecting crime or preventing disorder; economic well-being of the nation on the condition of them also being relevant to national security; public safety; protection of public health; prevention of death or injury or mitigating injury (in both cases either physical or mental); and for identification of a deceased individual or somebody who cannot identify themselves due to physical or mental condition.

Next we can move on to the middle two columns which set out minimum rank and level off access, namely that you have to be at least an inspector to have access to entity data, and superintendent to have full access. For reference entity data is set out in s. 261(3) and appears to be quite limited in that it seems primarily to be about identifying individuals and not information about the communications themselves, in fact it is explicitly defined as "not events data" (set out in s. 261(4) and is, as the name suggests, data about an event).

Now this is where the big issue comes, the statement declares in each case whether there is a change and if so whether an increase in powers, a decrease in powers, or a complete removal of powers it does not clearly set out the changes. beyond this I would say a number of the changes need a thorough justification given the nature of the powers currently existing, for instance if we look at HMRC this statement justifies the removal of the powers by talking about fraud, however the reasons for access to the data given in the Schedule are twofold, first is prevention and detection of crime, however there is also a second "for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy, or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department", the appendix to this statement addresses the first but not the second.

We can look at other particular examples, for instance DfH where the government bizarrely claims that investigation of potential counterfeit medications is not time critical despite the fact that there are potentially life changing complications from the sale and use of these medications, up to and including death.

In the Home Office given the remit is being extended to inspector or equivalent in all areas perhaps the house could be provided with a comprehensive list of the remits the powers are being extended to and given that within the existing legislation the reasons for accessing the information vary (for immigration and border security, anti-corruption, and asylum asylum fraud it is only for detection and prevention of crime but is extended to include public safety and identification of deceased individuals or those unable to identify themselves for security and intelligence officials) what reasons can be used for accessing the data. The house should also note here that while declaring in other departments powers to investigate fraud should be reduced as it is not time critical the minister has no problem with fraud investigation having these powers in the home office.

(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
To clarify, the actions set out are within the minister's executive powers, and so if this report is passed they will be deemed to be implemented in full.
Could we have a citation of the legislation that makes this so?
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ns_2
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Could we have a citation of the legislation that makes this so?
This is clarified in the statement.

"Hence, under the authority bestowed in Section 71(1) which stipulates that the “Secretary of State may by regulations modify section 70 or Schedule 4,” the modifications will be made in line with Appendix 1 with justifications provided for each action - whether expansion, restriction or removal - and where possible, a response to the justifications provided by each department or entity"
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Now this is where the big issue comes, the statement declares in each case whether there is a change and if so whether an increase in powers, a decrease in powers, or a complete removal of powers it does not clearly set out the changes. beyond this I would say a number of the changes need a thorough justification given the nature of the powers currently existing, for instance if we look at HMRC this statement justifies the removal of the powers by talking about fraud, however the reasons for access to the data given in the Schedule are twofold, first is prevention and detection of crime, however there is also a second "for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy, or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department", the appendix to this statement addresses the first but not the second.

We can look at other particular examples, for instance DfH where the government bizarrely claims that investigation of potential counterfeit medications is not time critical despite the fact that there are potentially life changing complications from the sale and use of these medications, up to and including death.

In the Home Office given the remit is being extended to inspector or equivalent in all areas perhaps the house could be provided with a comprehensive list of the remits the powers are being extended to and given that within the existing legislation the reasons for accessing the information vary (for immigration and border security, anti-corruption, and asylum asylum fraud it is only for detection and prevention of crime but is extended to include public safety and identification of deceased individuals or those unable to identify themselves for security and intelligence officials) what reasons can be used for accessing the data. The house should also note here that while declaring in other departments powers to investigate fraud should be reduced as it is not time critical the minister has no problem with fraud investigation having these powers in the home office.
The statement focuses on the rationale provided by the respective departments and their supposed uses. Ultimately, we believe that the IPA ought only to be used for serious physical crime and severe threats to the UK as a whole - the evasion of tax, whilst a crime nonetheless, is not a time critical event and should be pursued through other avenues - often with the person being informed, and rightly so of an investigation. In contrast, the investigation of terrorist plots is a time critical event, is a severe threat to the UK and crucially cannot involve informing the suspected terrorist of an investigation lest they expedite their plots.

In terms of the DfH, I refer you to the above point; whilst arguably medication fraud is a time critical event, covert avenues shouldn't be used - investigations do not themselves require communications data in the traditional form - simple investigations into payment trails for example would enable the progression of an investigation without invoking what are Draconian legal clauses.

In terms of the Home Office, it is our intention that the HO will be able to utilise all of the standard clauses for collection under the IPA, with specific focuses on border security. The issue of fraud concerns the severity of it - fraud at the border risks undermining national security, and risks allowing criminals entry into the UK, hence the retention of the right.
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(Original post by ns_2)
The statement focuses on the rationale provided by the respective departments and their supposed uses. Ultimately, we believe that the IPA ought only to be used for serious physical crime and severe threats to the UK as a whole - the evasion of tax, whilst a crime nonetheless, is not a time critical event and should be pursued through other avenues - often with the person being informed, and rightly so of an investigation. In contrast, the investigation of terrorist plots is a time critical event, is a severe threat to the UK and crucially cannot involve informing the suspected terrorist of an investigation lest they expedite their plots.

In terms of the DfH, I refer you to the above point; whilst arguably medication fraud is a time critical event, covert avenues shouldn't be used - investigations do not themselves require communications data in the traditional form - simple investigations into payment trails for example would enable the progression of an investigation without invoking what are Draconian legal clauses.

In terms of the Home Office, it is our intention that the HO will be able to utilise all of the standard clauses for collection under the IPA, with specific focuses on border security. The issue of fraud concerns the severity of it - fraud at the border risks undermining national security, and risks allowing criminals entry into the UK, hence the retention of the right.
Re: HO I will ask again, can we have a comprehensive list of the new groups that will have full access to communications data. I also dispute the claim that Asylum Fraud requires the powers as a time critical matter on national security grounds given these are people who are already in the country and the whole asylum process can take as long as 6 months, if it is time critical then that process really needs speeding up too. Further to this observation of Schedule 4 shows that national security is not a reason for the asylum fraud team to have access to the communications data so clearly the RL government also agrees with me that there is no legitimate national security threat.
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Looking at this report, it's plainly obvious that it achieves very little and is largely unnecessary. Whilst I will leave my disdain for certain clauses in the IPA (namely those which present a direct threat to civil liberties) at the doors of this House (if I was to voice my opposition I would do so legislatively), I have to say that the changes made in this report are hardly substantial. Many of the powers outlined are already under the remit of the IPA if we are to be technical, and any suggestions that are made are not elaborated on enough to make them worthwhile.

I therefore suggest that the Home Office takes another look at its report (I will say I admire the work put into this), and brings it back to us at a later date. There is no use proposing legislation which changes nothing.
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I am surprised to see this issued under the current government but I very much welcome this statement. While this still does not go far enough and leaves some unknowns it is at the very least a step in right direction.
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A fantastic report from the Home Secretary and one which has my full support.
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Jammy Duel

I note a lack of a TL;DR, what are you proposing that should be changed?
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(Original post by Saunders16)
Jammy Duel

I note a lack of a TL;DR, what are you proposing that should be changed?
Thorough justification that actually takes into consideration s. 61(7), for instance they use national security to justify expanding powers to the entirety of the home office despite it not being a reason to access the information IRL which would suggest that it isn't a sound justification and to, in essence, produce a new Schedule 4 which sets out who can access the data and for what reason, not just vaguely stating there is more or less power.
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Thorough justification that actually takes into consideration s. 61(7), for instance they use national security to justify expanding powers to the entirety of the home office despite it not being a reason to access the information IRL which would suggest that it isn't a sound justification and to, in essence, produce a new Schedule 4 which sets out who can access the data and for what reason, not just vaguely stating there is more or less power.
I am happy to do this.
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I am happy to do this.
Shouldn't the Home Secretary be doing so, and why was it even published in the first place with such a massive flaw?
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Shouldn't the Home Secretary be doing so, and why was it even published in the first place with such a massive flaw?
I am he; the MHoC doesn't use SIs in the way it ought to - this form was meant to be easier to interpret.
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Could we have a citation of the legislation that makes this so?
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...ion/71/enacted
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This ministerial report is in cessation.

Unless sent to vote by the minister, Prime Minister (who happen this time to be one and the same), or Leader of the Opposition, it will be enacted in full when the cessation expires.
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This ministerial report has passed without vote and been enacted in full.
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