ISPA Welcomes the Joint Committee Report’s findings into the Draft Communications Data Bill


ISPA welcomes the Joint Committee’s report and, as we argued in our evidence, believe the government needs to do more to reach out to ISPA, the wider industry, civil liberties groups and other interested parties to refine this Bill.


ISPA Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman, said:


“ISPA gave written and oral evidence to the committee and agrees with the findings of the inquiry that the lack of detail around scope, safeguards, cost and lack of consultation mean that the Draft Bill needs to be looked at again to address these fundamental concerns. In its current form the lack of detail means that the Draft Bill falls short of balancing law enforcement requirements with the impact on business and privacy of users.”


ISPA provided written and oral evidence and a number of our points were accepted by the Committee.  We argued that as the proposals in the Bill represent a significant extension to current capabilities, additional safeguards are required to protect privacy and the impact of business when balancing law enforcement’s requirements.  Ultimately, it is parliament’s decision to decide where the line should be drawn, but in order to make good policy, Government needs to provide a great deal more detail around what data is expected to be retained, by whom and for what purpose to fully understand the impact of the legislation.


The Committee supported our views that:


  • Cost recovery should be written onto the face of the Bill
  • There is a danger to innovation and investment in the UK digital economy
  • Small ISPs could be unduly affected by the proposals
  • Definitions, such as subscriber data, need to be updated and narrowed down
  • That a more detailed cost benefit analysis is required, including understanding what the current capability gap is
  • Too much power is vested in the hands of the Home Secretary rather than Parliament.


The Intelligence and Security Committee partly backs this up arguing that the proposals need further work, particularly around consultation with CSPs and the safeguards that will be in place.  We expect the Home Office to take on board the findings of both committees and others, and await their response.


Notes to the editor:

The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) was established in 1995 as a trade association to represent providers of Internet services in the UK. ISPA promotes competition, self-regulation and the development of the Internet industry. For a list of members or other information about ISPA, please consult the website:  Our written evidence to the Joint Committee in full is here.


The views expressed in this release are those of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) and do not necessarily reflect the corporate policies of the individual companies that are members of the Association or other organisations that may be mentioned in the release. For further editorial information please contact the ISPA Press Office (0203 397 3308).