Jump to content

Investigatory Powers Act gives us what we need, says lead for digital investigations


Recommended Posts

ACC Berry spoke to PoliceOracle.com prior to latest debates over police access to communications data.


The Investigatory Powers Act should be good enough for police forces to use to investigate serious digital crime, the officer who leads in the area believes.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry has recently taken over as full time chief officer lead on the digital investigations intelligence programme and communications data portfolio at the NPCC.

Speaking to PoliceOracle.com early last week he was asked if the revised version of the Act had done away with the “gaps” which senior personnel had warned would prevent them accessing communications data not directly linked to criminality, when a draft version of the law was unveiled.

ACC Berry said: “I think so. Like all things the challenge is for legislation to keep up with the technology and there are provisions within the Act to enable it to do so, so we hopefully we don’t end up in a RIPA situation where it’s kind of patched together just to try and keep pace with things.

“For example the provisions around internet connection records and internet protocol address resolution which were key comms data aspects of the IP Act look like they’re going to be resilient but we’ve got a long way to go in terms of being able to deliver the technical capabilities, and it’s very much a dynamic process which reflects the nature of the digital environment.

“If we’re not constantly evolving, whether it’s technical terms, legislative terms, operational terms or whatever perspective you want to look at it will become very challenging for us.

“I think it will meet our requirements but it’s the need to constantly adapt and the legislation is no different in that.”

While the Act has received royal assent, it has still not been implemented, and it faces a legal challenge started by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and now-Brexit Minister David Davis.

Plans for training practitioners to operate under the new legislative framework are being worked out, although are subject to change if the legal challenge alters the review of the law.

The challenge has come about after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found the "general and indiscriminate" retention of communications data was illegal.

ACC Berry spoke to PoliceOracle.com following the International Communications Data & Digital Forensics Conference which took place in west London.

On Sunday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd criticised the companies for creating encrypted messaging services.

Media reports have claimed terrorist Khalid Masood accessed WhatsApp shortly before he carried out his attack in Westminster last week.

Ms Rudd told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "It is completely unacceptable, there should be no place for terrorists to hide.

"We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.

"It used to be that people would steam-open envelopes or just listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what people were doing, legally, through warrantry.

"But on this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp."

WhatsApp said in response it had been assisting the police investigation.

A spokeswoman said: "We are horrified at the attack carried out in London earlier this week and are co-operating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations."

Critics of Ms Rudd’s comments have pointed out that encryption is needed to keep any personal data secure from hackers.

Others say individuals can develop their own encrypted messaging services without having to rely on commercial apps, and would be more likely to do so if WhatsApp weakened its privacy settings.

ACC Berry said the pace of change in technology is one of the biggest challenges facing digital investigators.

View on Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...