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Human rights issues with the draft Communications Data Bill

Publication date: 

This report was submitted to the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Under the current version of the draft Communications Data Bill, records of every person or entity with whom any given individual has communicated electronically would be collected continuously and stored for one year. These records would include the time of the communication and the location from which it originated. 

The Communications Data Bill raises a number of concerns with regards to the right to privacy under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. There are also concerns about the right to free expression under Article 10 and the right to freedom of assembly and association under Article 11 due to the potential chilling effect of the 'menace of surveillance' (Klass v Germany), but as these apply more generally to the broader domain of communications surveillance in the UK, we have restricted our comments to Article 8 issues for the purposes of this response.

Many thanks to Covington and Burling who assisted with the preparation of this submission.