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Internet Service Providers: Communications Data Provision To Police

Volume 621: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have to ensure that police officers, when requesting information from Internet service providers, are adequately aware of the nature of information available in technical terms and appropriately authorised to obtain the confidential data; and [HL412]Whether they support the proposal from Internet service providers that there should be a list detailing what Internet service providers will tell law enforcement agencies about their customers under criminal investigation; and whether the Internet service providers have indicated how much they will charge for the information. [HL413]

Law enforcement agencies meet regularly, through working groups, with communication service providers (CSPs) to discuss issues such as the capability of the CSP to provide different types of communications data. A new more controlled regime to access such data is being introduced through Chapter II of Part I of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).These provisions describe the kind of data that may be required to be disclosed in response to a properly authorised notice and the statutory tests to be fulfilled before any such authorisation can be given. The provisions are subject to a statutory code of practice, a draft of which will be published for public consultation shortly. Agreements are in place between CSPs and law enforcement agencies that provide for cost recovery where a CSP is called upon to provide communications data. The agreements have been reached independently of the Government and take account of the fact that a requirement to provide communications data places operational and financial burdens on the CSP.