There are inadequate safeguards against abuse: There
is no provision for independent judicial supervision of
Part III as a whole, as required by Article 8 of the
European Convention. Instead, the proposed Complaints
Tribunal and Commissioner will only apply to those cases
where the interception warrant has been approved by the
Secretary of State under the 1985 Interception of
Peter Noorlander, Legal Policy Officer at JUSTICE,
"There are other, less intrusive ways of giving police
access to encrypted material when a crime is suspected.
To ensure compliance with human rights standards, the
Government must re-think this part of the Bill."
Caspar Bowden, Director of the Foundation for
Information Policy Research, said:
"The government is attempting to bolt decryption
powers for the internet onto existing interception laws.
This legal analysis demonstrates why this approach is
unsound and is incompatible with basic human rights."
Note to Editors:
1. The Opinion is written by Professor Jack Beatson QC
(formerly a Law Commissioner) and Tim Eicke, barrister,
from Essex Court Chambers. A full copy of the Opinion is
available on the internet, at http://www.fipr.org/ecomm99/ecommaud.html,
or from the JUSTICE office.
2. The draft Electronic Communications Bill is
included in a DTI consultation document, Promoting
Electronic Commerce. It is expected to be introduced in
the next parliamentary session.
3. JUSTICE is conducting human rights audits of
current legislation. Completed audits include the
Immigration and Asylum Bill, Access to Justice Bill,
Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill, Draft Freedom
of Information Bill and consultation papers on
Anti-terrorism and the Mental Health Review. In 1998, it
published a major report on covert policing, 'Under
Surveillance: Covert Policing and Human Rights
4. The Foundation for Information Policy Research is
the UK's leading Internet policy think-tank, an
independent non-profit organisation that studies the
interaction between information technology and society.
FIPR monitors technical developments with significant
social impact, commissions research into public policy
alternatives, and promotes public understanding and
dialogue between technologists and policy-makers in the
UK and Europe.
For further information, contact Lib Peck, JUSTICE, on
+44 (0)171 762 6419,or Nicholas Bohm (FIPR legal officer)
on +44 (0)1279 871272.