Suggested bulk powers have an operational purpose, Anderson review concludes

The Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson Q.C, says that there is a proven operational case for three of the bulk powers - bulk interception, bulk acquisition of communications data and bulk personal datasets - and that there is a distinct (though not yet proven) operational case for bulk equipment interference.

The report of the Independent Bulk Powers Review, issued to parliament on Friday 19 August, concludes that bulk powers play an important part in identifying, understanding and averting threats in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and further afield, but does not comment on proportionality or desirability of bulk powers.

Anderson recommends that a Technical Advisory Panel of independent academics and industry experts be appointed by the Investigatory Powers Commission to advise on the impact of changing technology, and on how MI5, MI6 and GCHQ could reduce the privacy footprint of their activities.

The exercise of bulk powers implies the collection and retention of large quantities of data which can subsequently be accessed by the authorities. The Investigatory Powers Bill, for which this review was carried out, will next be discussed at a committee session in the House of Lords on 5 September.