ISPA, the voice of the UK Internet industry, responded to Head of MI5 Andrew Parker who commented on the need for additional powers to access communications data.

ISPA believes that law enforcement should have reasonable access to communications data as long as the governing legislation has appropriate safeguards, oversight arrangements and does not damage inward investment and the UK’s position as a leading place to do business online.

There currently exists a whole raft of powers to access communications data, and we support the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson’s view that the laws in this area are too complex and need to be more comprehensible. ISPA further agrees with Anderson that the case has not yet been made for an extension of powers.

Responding to Andrew Parker, Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General said “ISPA calls on the Home Office to follow the advice of Parliament and consult with industry and the wider Internet community on the Investigatory Powers Bill. It is important to get the balance right between privacy, security, maintaining user trust and the cost to industry as key issues such as retaining third party data, judicial oversight and data hosted abroad are discussed.”

ISPA will be working with members to analyse the impact of the Bill and we look forward to formally responding to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the legislation.