Safeguards governing investigatory powers come into effect

The Home Office has revealed that warrants permitting the use of the most intrusive investigatory powers will now require the approval of a judge.

Seen as the final step needed to implement the stringent ‘judicial double-lock’ safeguard created by the landmark Investigatory Powers Act 2016, the government has commenced the equipment interference provision for law enforcement agencies and wider public authorities.

In addition to the double-lock, the Investigatory Powers Act created the role of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to oversee the intelligence agencies, police and other public authorities’ use of investigatory powers. The Act creates one new power allowing access to internet connection records, vital in confronting serious criminals, terrorists and hostile state activity in a digital age.

Wallace said: “The terrorist attacks last year and the reckless use of a nerve agent in the UK earlier this year were stark reminders of the real and significant national security threats this country faces. We are also aware that serious and organised crime is costing this country at least £37 billion each year, let alone the devastating human impact.

“It is essential that our law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies and wider public authorities have the powers they need to investigate and disrupt the most dangerous criminals and national security threats. The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation, providing strict safeguards and unprecedented oversight. The double-lock ensures that these vital tools are used in a way that is both necessary and proportionate.”

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