The Home Office and GCHQ work closely together. It is long-standing government policy not to comment further on intelligence matters.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 makes provision for the lawful interception of communications, which includes content of internet communications. A range of technologies is used to ensure that effect can be given to warrants for lawful interception.
Current legislation—the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 (Statutory Instrument 2009/859)—provides that the Secretary of State may, subject to prior agreement, reimburse any expenses incurred by a public communications provider in complying with the regulations for retention of communications data.
The Government’s consultation paper Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment, published in April, outlined high-level initial estimates of the cost of the options considered as part of the Interception Modernisation Programme. These were in the range of up to £2 billion over a 10-year period. The Government have actively sought the views of business on the options and how to minimise their impact on business consistent with better regulation commitments.