BCS calls for informed public debate on fast tracking of DRIP

15 July 2014

In light of the Government’s recent announcement regarding the fast tracking of the new Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (DRIP), BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has said it would like to see wider informed public debate on the important issue of the use of information as a tool in fighting criminal activity in general and terrorism in particular.

Adam Thilthorpe, Director of Professionalism from the Institute said: “We would like to see the proposals being made, but caution that it is vital that there is informed public debate, as the need for protection is not the only imperative here. Rushing through legislation on issues like this is ineffective and has a cost in terms of public trust that the government needs to be mindful of. That said, a sunset clause is very necessary, and if it led to a wider review of such powers that could be positive outcome.”

The Institute believes that a more in depth assessment of the proposed provisions of the Bill and their direct impact on individual civil liberties would increase awareness and enable a more constructive debate on the merits of, and the necessity for new provisions.

Adam added: “The police and security services need powers to protect the nation and its citizens, but we believe that such use should be proportionate and properly monitored, and that the principles behind such use are clear, publicly debated, and that use is and is seen to be accountable to those principles.”

The Institute would also welcome a reduction of these powers to the most serious criminal and terrorist activity, and reduction in the number of public bodies that can use these powers.

The Institute has previously published a position paper on the Communications Data Bill.

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