https - hopefully not too stupid a question

Francis Davey fjmd1a at
Tue Jun 19 01:28:31 BST 2012

2012/6/19 Peter Fairbrother <zenadsl6186 at>:
> I'll repeat my question then, Oh shill - are there any circumstances in the
> draft Act under which s.11 ever gets invoked?

I still don't understand why you feel the need to be rude to me. It is
not a nice or productive thing to do. I have gone over what I said and
don't see anywhere that I have been hostile or unpleasant to you.

Example circumstances:

[1] The Secretary of State designates local authorities as "relevant
public authorities" (as was done by 2003/3171 to RIPA - so it is not
an implausible possibility).

[2] A designated senior officer of a relevant public authority wants
to authorise the obtaining of subscriber data from a
telecommunications operator that the operator was holding as a matter
of course (i.e. not because of an order under clause 1).

[3] The officer gives the authorisation.

[4] If anyone wants to use that authorisation (eg by giving notice to
the operator to produce the data) they will have to first obtain
judicial approval.

I understood that clause 11 was suggested by proponents of the bill as
being a "safeguard" and therefore useful. In fact the figures from the
last Interception of Communications Commissioner show that less than
2,000 requests were made in 2009 by local authorities, which suggests
that they were not a particularly significant player in the Part II
RIPA field anyway. Clause 11 is therefore not a particularly
significant provision in the scheme of things.

Is that what you meant?

I picked "subscriber data" since that appears (from what the ICC says)
to be what local authorities have mostly been asking for, though he
says that a small amount of use data is requested.

> Or is is just a bit of statute which looks good, but actually means nothing
> (unless perhaps later invoked by a SI, or other means)?

Unless local authorities are designated as relevant public authorities
(by SI) *or* officers of some other group are designated "relevant
person"s then you are right to say that cl. 11 has nothing to bite on.
But I think it is overwhelmingly likely (on past performance) that
local authorities will be designated relevant public authorities.


> One question, for Nicholas if you are here, or any lawyer - what is all this
> "see section" stuff about?

I think I count as a lawyer.

> eg 9(8), 1(6) or search for "see" in the draft. haven't seen that before.

Its a style used for easier reading since it alerts the reader to the
fact that a particular set of provisions are re-used or re-applied or
otherwise gives a cross-reference. In many cases a different drafting
style could have avoided the use of "see ..." indications.

Drafters ought, but seem not to, have a rule that there should be a
maximum of one indirection to find any definition.

Francis Davey

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