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MPs start scrutiny of Government's 'data snooping' bill

Call for evidence over controversial plans to give intelligence officers access to communications data

A joint committee of MPs and peers is calling for evidence to be submitted to its inquiry into the government's draft Communications Bill.

The Bill is intended to give police access to communications data for the purposes of tackling crime.

At the launch of the inquiry, committee chairman Lord Blencathra, said: "We all email, use websites and mobile phones and this committee wants to ensure that the draft Bill will ensure a sufficient balance between an individual's privacy and national security.

"We intend very thoroughly to examine the government's proposals and hope to hear from interested bodies and organisations about exactly how the changes in technology and the way we use it should be reflected in legislation about access to communication data.

The call for evidence will cover issues such as whether or not the technology exists to enable communications service providers to capture and store communications data reliably and safely. It will also explore if there are any concerns, from a technical perspective, that the measures proposed by the draft Bill could be circumvented, and question if retaining data for 12 months is an appropriate amount of time.

The deadline for submitting written evidence via email to draftcommunicationsbill@parliament.uk is 23 August 2012.

A report following the consultation is expected to be published by 30 November 2012.

More information on the call for evidence can be found here.

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