The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation examined
- a. the threats to the United Kingdom,
- b. the capabilities required to combat those threats,
- c. the safeguards to protect privacy,
- d. the challenges of changing technologies, and
- e. issues relating to transparency and oversight,
as required by the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 before reporting to the Prime Minister on the effectiveness of existing legislation relating to investigatory powers, and to examine the case for a new or amending law.
The scope of the task extended well beyond the field of counter-terrorism. Public authorities intercept communications, and collect information about communications, for a host of other purposes including counter-espionage, counter-proliferation, missing persons investigations and the detection and prosecution of both internet-enabled crime (fraud, cyber-attacks, child sexual exploitation) and crime in general.
The purpose of this Report was:
- to inform the public and political debate on these matters, which at its worst can be polarised, intemperate and characterised by technical misunderstandings; and
- to set out proposals for reform, in the form of five governing principles and 124 specific recommendations.