Communications Data
Email Campaign

Communications data is vital for the police in their fight against crime, including serious offences such as child abuse, drug dealing and terrorism.

It is imperative that we get the balance right between upholding civil liberties and the right to privacy and protecting the public by maintaining the ability of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access vital communications data in an ever more dangerous world. Communications data has played a role in 95 per cent of all serious organised crime investigations and every major Security Service counter-terrorism operation over the last decade. Over time, 25 per cent of communications data required by the police and agencies can no longer be acquired because the relevant data is not available at the necessary level of quality and timeliness we need to halt and reverse this.

I would like to make it clear that the Government has no intention to provide the police and others with new powers to intercept and read emails and phone calls. The proposals do not weaken current safeguards or checks in place to protect private correspondence. There are no powers to share this information with private investigators or journalists and indeed there are serious sanctions for abusing access to personal data. What it does allow is the police and intelligence services to access this contextual information on the internet in the same way as they can currently access it via telephone records. I am pleased to hear that, under no circumstances will these proposals authorise the interception and storage of the content of a communication what was written in an email or said over the telephone. That will always require a warrant signed by the Secretary of State.

As you are aware, the Intelligence and Security Committee and a joint committee of both Houses recently conducted pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Communications Data Bill. The Home Office considered the recommendations of these committees and will be accepting the substance of all of them and re-drafting the legislation on that basis. I know that the Government is committed to legislating to ensure the law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to have access to the communications data they need.

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