An underwhelming start on IPBill

So, the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill has now been released. I’m in the process of working through the draft myself, and will post something here soon. In the interim though, the House of Commons has nominated 7 people to sit on the joint committee of Commons and Lords, to discuss the draft. The names are below.

At a first look, I’m pretty underwhelmed. The makeup (4 Con, 2 Lab, 1 SNP) reflects the breakdown of MPs (not public vote %) which is pretty standard, but I’m disappointed there’s no Lib Dem. The LD have been easily the most vocal party for civil liberties, and killed the outrageous snoopers charter. Maybe that’s why they’re not included.

Furthermore, it’s of note that 4 of the 7 are new MPs (4 Con, 1 SNP), and so it’s to be expected they’ll do what their party bosses require of them. Only 1 (Suella Fernandes) commented on Wednesday’s debate on the bill. The rest seem to have no real interest in the subject, or applicable knowledge (I’ll come back and edit this when I read more). In the interim, below are the people, with links to their TheyWorkForYou profiles.

EDIT: I’ve now had some time to look into their profiles. Generally relevant-ish qualifications – there’s a load of lawyers but only 1 person with any technology knowledge, and he was just a journalist who specialised in consumer technology. Most appear likely to follow party lines, overall there’s definitely a pro-authoritarian slant.

Victoria Atkins [Con, 2015-]

Barrister (Serious & Organised Crime) will have good relevant knowledge. Expect to be pro-authoritarian.

Suella Fernandes [Con, Barrister, 2015-]

Suella may be a good pick. Has knowledge of the law, and at least some interest, despite being a fresh MP. Knowledge of international (US) law.

Mr David Hanson [Lab, 1992-]

2010 Shadow Minister at the Home Office. Experienced MP, has some knowledge/experience. Expected to be pro-authoritarian (has previously voted for ID cards, and for Data Retention)

Stuart C. McDonald [SNP, 2015-]

Has worked for immigration services as a Human Rights Solicitor. May be balanced in views.

Dr Andrew Murrison [Con, 2001-, voted against Iraq war]

Voted against Iraq war, which took balls as a Conservative. Voted for data retention but against ID cards. Not sure of views, but unlikely to be cowed by whips on moral matters.

Valerie Vaz [Lab, 2010-]

Has law experience. Seems not to have had an interest in surveillance etc, and has voted in line with government. Not sure why picked. Likely to follow the party line.

Matt Warman [Con, 2015-]

Only person nominated who has any knowledge of tech (was previous Consumer Technology Editor at the The Daily Telegraph newspaper. Sits on the Science and Technology Select Committee. Probably shallow knowledge of tech.