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IPB excuse #74

Posted by on October 19, 2016.

Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) in the Lords; from Hansard:

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (Green Party)

The amendment simply requires, first, a threshold of reasonable suspicion that a serious crime has been planned or committed and, secondly, a factual basis for believing that the targeted communications data will contain information relevant to the criminal investigation. This would reassure the public that intrusive targeted surveillance could be used only where there was reasonable suspicion of a serious crime. To that end, I hope the Government will accept the amendment. I beg to move.

Seems reasonable. It asks that the government should be able to demonstrate a reason for spying on you before it actually does spy on you pursuant to the IPB.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe) (Conservative)

Taking effective action against serious criminals often requires the investigation of, if I may use the phrase, lower-level individuals for activities that are not considered serious crimes in order to build a case against higher-ranked criminals. It may also include the investigation of minor offences where stopping an offender at this point may prevent an escalation of their criminal activities, such as in stalking and grooming cases.

…Placing this additional restriction on the acquisition of communications data would disrupt police investigations of online grooming and linked crimes, such as the sending of sexual communications to a child.

The argument, then, is that in order to catch serious criminals we must all be assumed to be minor criminals – and, oh look, there’s the old bogey, paedophilia. Always worth a few votes. So we’re all nascent paedophiles as well as minor criminals.

The amendment was, tragically, withdrawn.

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