DRIP 2014: A Conspiracy Theory

July 17, 2014

I am sure that you all know that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 has now received Royal Assent and is now law. It is available online {here: http://goo.gl/d6NM5n}. I am sure that many readers agree with the Home Office views expressed {here: http://goo.gl/roQH2X} but others will have more sympathy with the views of Julia Powles expressed {here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/18/uk-drip-ripa-law-sceptical-misleading-democracy-martha-lane-fox}. I commend Graham Smith’s updated analysis {here: http://cyberleagle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/dissecting-emergency-data-retention-and.html}.

It appears that we are stuck with this legislation until 2016. Whatever the merits of the legislation, and I understand that there are some, I would observe that it seems unlikely that Theresa May would allow a plumber who is effecting an emergency repair to get away with telling her that he will be back to do a proper job in two years.

So two years from now, this issue must be re-addressed. Perhaps earlier if the Open Rights Group get their challenge to court earlier. I feel sure that none of the leading UK political parties will dare say No to those pressing for these powers so they will be renewed, perhaps even extended. I feel sure too that the CJEU, or the European Court of Human Rights, will say that the powers arising from DRIP 2014 are overly extensive and inconsistent with the right to privacy.

So I ask myself two questions Why would anyone bring forward legislation that will be struck down by a European court at some stage? Who could possibly benefit in 2016 from being seen to be fighting for the right to catch paedos and terrorists when the Europeans are offering them a cloak to cover their wrongdoing?

When the Home Office is prepared to cite the Soham murders in support of these powers (which is disgraceful – Soham was a case where a shoddy police investigation took an age to find an obvious offender), one cannot rule out the possibility that somebody is playing politics on a grander scale.