Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”.

Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he raised in a Grand Committee debate last week.

The regulations would amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”, to give police the power to access communications data when investigating any crime “which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a communication or a breach of a person’s privacy”.

This follows a judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union in December 2016, which ruled that that such data must only be used “for the purpose of fighting serious crime”.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson on Home Affairs, said:

“The courts have ruled the police should only have your itemised phone bill, a record of where you’ve been with your mobile phone or which websites you’ve been looking at on the internet if they’re investigating serious crime.  The Government are trying to get around the judgement by re-defining ‘serious crime’ as any offence involving communication, whether it’s serious or not.

“This is yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties, giving the police draconian powers instead of the resources they desperately need to do their job properly and responsibly.

“At the last election Liberal Democrats pledged more money for the police than any other political party. Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up to protect our freedoms and properly fund the police service.”


Notes to editors

A debate on Lord Paddick’s motion will take place in the House of Lords later today (30th October).

The Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 are available here.

A transcript of the House of Lords Grand Committee debate on the regulations, which took place on 24th October, is available here.

The CJEU judgment in the cases of Tele2 Sverige AB v Post- och telestyrelsen and Secretary of State for the Home Department v Tom Watson and Others, published on 21st December 2016, is available here.

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