The UK government has launched a public consultation on modifying the Investigatory Powers Act to “improve the effectiveness” of the current notices regimes.
The consultation invites comments on the operation of the notices regime from interested groups and members of the public, without restriction — which is particularly important given that the proposal includes clarifying the extra-territorial reach of the Investigatory Power Act.
What’s at Issue?
The government seeks to amend the notice regime under the current Investigatory Power Act (IPA) that regulates government’s power to place requirements on telecommunications operators to assist with national security and law enforcement — specifically the power to impose technical capability notices, data retention notices and national security notices.
National Security Notices (NSNs) require the telecommunications operator to take such whatever steps the Secretary of State considers necessary in the interests of national security — language which echoes Canada’s Bill C-26 which allows government to direct telecommunications service providers “to do anything or refrain from doing anything” they are ordered to do — including:
(d) impose conditions on a telecommunications service provider’s provision of services to a specified person, including a telecommunications service provider;
(e) prohibit a telecommunications service provider from entering into a service agreement for any product or service used in, or in relation to, its telecommunications network or telecommunications facilities, or any part of those networks or facilities;
(f) require that a telecommunications service provider terminate a service agreement referred to in paragraph (e).
As with Bill C-26, merely disclosing the existence of an order made under the IPA would be illegal.
The UK government has yet to put forward concrete amendments to the IPA; but the objectives stated for this proposal include further strengthening the capacity of national security notices to apply extraterritoriality (i.e., beyond the UK), and may be used to limit encryption.
Have your say at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/revised-investigatory-powers-act-notices-regimes-consultation/consultation-on-revised-notices-regimes-in-the-investigatory-powers-act-2016-accessible-version#fn:3