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Press release

Emergency phone and internet data retention law: “Hasty legislation has often proved to be badly flawed”

10 July 2014


An emergency law to ensure police and security services can continue to access people's phone and internet records is expected to be approved at a special cabinet meeting later today.

The Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill is backed by all main parties and needed to fight "criminals and terrorists", the Prime Minister, David Cameron says.
It comes after the European Court of Justice ruled against existing laws.

Dr Martyn Thomas from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said: "In principle, the proposals are important for national security and law enforcement. It is essential that any intrusion into a citizen's private affairs is minimal, proportionate to the benefits to society as a whole, and properly controlled and supervised.

“Hasty legislation has often proved to be badly flawed. The Government has not yet published the detail of the proposed Bill, so it’s important to make sure that the draft Bill is examined and debated in detail before legislation is passed."

The IET highlights the Digital Economy Act 2010, which set out to address issues relating to copyright infringement, as an example of hastily introduced legislation which ultimately had little effect on curbing illegal file-sharing.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multi-disciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.