Today the Investigatory Powers Bill received Royal Assent – thus becoming the Investigatory Powers Act. The new legislation brings together and updates existing powers while overhauling how they are authorised and overseen. It also creates one new power: the introduction of Internet Connection Records (ICR), which will be accessible by law enforcement and the intelligence agencies.

The Home Office has indicted that not all of the powers available in the Bill will be rolled out straight away, and will be implemented over time in “consultation with industry and operational partners”.


The Bill’s concept was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2015, and the draft Bill was presented in November 2015. Subsequently, later versions of the Bill responded to the recommendations of three independent reviews and underwent a period of extensive pre-legislative scrutiny before being revised and introduced in the House of Commons on 1 March 2016. Over 1,700 proposed amendments to the bill were debated by Parliament before it concluded its passage on 16 November 2016. In receiving Royal Assent on 29 November 2016, the government has fulfilled its commitment to pass the legislation before the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) sunsets on 31 December 2016.

The Investigatory Powers Act will serve as a framework for the use and oversight of investigatory powers by law enforcement, the security and intelligence agencies, and other public authorities. This includes the interception of communications, the retention and acquisition of communications data, the use of equipment interference, and the retention and use of bulk data by the security and intelligence agencies.

ADS provided a technical advisory role to government, using our security sector expertise to ensure a better understanding of the technology involved and the implications of rapidly developing future technologies for the legislation.


In a statement the Home Office said, “Some of the provisions in the bill will require extensive testing and will not be in place for some time. The Home Office is developing plans for implementing the provisions in the bill and will set out the timetable in due course. This will be subject to detailed consultation with industry and operational partners. In the meantime, the government will commence the provisions in the bill required to replace the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) which sunsets on 31 December.”

ADS will follow-up with the government providing further technical advice for the implementation of the Act in 2017 and in to the future.


Following the Bill passing both the Lords and Commons, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition calling for it to be repealed. The fact that it has attracted so many signatures means that it will get debated in Parliament – however comes too late to actually impact the Act, having been started after the Bill had already passed through all of its parliamentary stages.