Letter to the Chair from Rt Hon Alan Johnson
MP, Home Secretary, dated 14 July 2009
( ECTHR APP
NO 58243/00, 1 JULY
You wrote inquiring how we were implementing
the ECtHR judgment in the above case. The questions are reproduced
below with the answers for ease of reference.
1. What steps, if any, does the Government
intend to take to give effect to the ECtHR's decision in Liberty
The decision in Liberty and others concerned
the Article 8 compatibility of the power to intercept external
communications under the Interception of Communications Act 1985 ("IOCA").
IOCA has since been replaced by the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act 2000 ("RIPA"). The main purpose of RIPA
(as set out in the Explanatory Notes) was to ensure that the various
investigatory powers encompassed within the Act are used in accordance
with human rights.
2. Is the Government satisfied that the legal
deficiencies identified by the ECtHR in Liberty and others have
been rectified by repeal of the Interception of Communications
Act 1985 and the enactment of the Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act 2000 and its Code of Practice?
Yes, but the Government will continue to keep
the legislation under review in the light of European case law.
3. In particular, is the Government satisfied
that publicly accessible information on the current procedure
for "selecting for examination, sharing, storing and destroying
intercepted material" is available, and if so, where can
it be found?
Information is found with the Act itself, the
code of practice, and the Interception Commissioner's annual reports.
4. To what extent will Government work following
on from its consultation on RIPA aim to implement the ECtHR's
decision in Liberty and others?
The Government consultation on "Regulation
of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Consolidating Orders and Codes
of Practice" primarily dealt with public authorities who
are able to use:
Covert human intelligence sources.
and the purposes for which these powers can be used.
Revised draft codes of practice for covert surveillance and property
interference and covert human intelligence sources were published
as part of the consultation.
As identified in the consultation document,
the Government is proposing to make a small number of minor changes
to the Interception Code of Practice and the revised code will
be published (and any representations made on the code will be
considered ) before the Order bringing the revised code into force
is laid and is subject to debate by both Houses of Parliament.
5. In addition, please provide us with copies
of the Government's submissions to the Committee of Ministers
and ensure that we continue to be updated as further information
Liberty and others will be considered by the
Committee of Ministers at its 15-16 September meeting. In
addition to proof of the 7,500 Euro payment and interest
to Liberty, set by the Court in respect of costs and expenses,
we have provided the following information:
Other individual measures: the Annotated Agenda
notes for the June 2009 meeting requested information on
the fate of any of the applicants' communications that might have
been intercepted under IOCA. IOCA was replaced by RIPA which entered
into force on 2 October 2000. RIPA, and the Interception
of Communications Code elaborated thereunder, sets out safeguards
regarding the duration for which material can be kept, and regarding
These, and the other safeguards set out in the
RIPA regime, will equally be applied to any material obtained
prior to RIPA's entry into force. General measures: as previously
stated, IDCA has been replaced by RIPA, which contains additional
foreseeability requirements. The Government is still considering
whether any additional general measures are required.
14 July 2009