This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on privacy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

05.02.2015Communications Data: The 2012 draft Bill and recent developments
The draft Communications Data Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech in 2012 and published on 14 June 2012. The Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny and some aspects of the Government's proposals were criticised. The Bill, frequently referred to by critics as a 'snooper's charter', was not taken forward in the 2012-13 session. New Government proposals on cybercrime were foreshadowed in the 2013 Queen's Speech, but these appeared more limited than the plans set out in the draft Bill.
14.01.2015Identity theft: What to do
This standard note provides general information about identity theft, where to go for advice or assistance and information on identity fraud relating to financial crimes.
19.12.2014Wilson Doctrine
The convention that MPs' communications should not be intercepted by police or security services is known as the 'Wilson Doctrine'. It is named after the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson who established the rule in 1966. Concerns over possible breaches of the Wilson doctrine have been voiced on a number of occasions in recent years: following Sadiq Khan's meetings with a constituent at Woodhill Prison in 2005/6, Damian Green's arrest and the subsequent search of his offices in November 2008, following revelations of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities in 2013, and after it was revealed in 2014 that conversations between MPs and prisoners were recorded from 2006-12.
16.09.2014The "right to be forgotten"
In May 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that a user had the right to have links to web pages about him removed from Google's search results because the passage of time had made them 'irrelevant'. This Note examines what the judgment means for search engines, for individuals and for the UK.
12.03.2014CCTV surveillance by your neighbour
Constituents sometimes complain to their MPs that a neighbour's CCTV camera is 'intrusive' and ask what the law says. This Note describes the legislation and refers to the guidance published by the Information Commissioner's Office.

Research Papers

28.11.2014Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill
The Bill has seven parts, designed to reduce the terrorism threat to the UK. It would strengthen powers to put temporary restrictions on travel and modify the Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures. It would extend the retention of relevant communications data, strengthen security for travel arrangements and make the existing Prevent programme statutory as well as address the payment of insurance for ransoms.
14.12.2012Justice and Security Bill
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading of the Justice and Security Bill in the House of Commons, which is due to take place on 18 December 2012. The Bill, which has proved contentious, was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. It is aimed at modernising and strengthening the oversight of the intelligence and security services and would allow the civil courts to use closed material procedures to hear sensitive evidence in cases that raised national security concerns. It would also preclude the courts from ordering the disclosure of sensitive information in certain circumstances. The Bill was revised significantly in the Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012.
28.06.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill: Committee Stage Report Bill 189 of 2010-11
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. It complements Research Paper 11/20 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
23.02.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill [Bill 146 of 2010-11]
This briefing on the Protection of Freedoms Bill was prepared for the House of Commons Second Reading debate. The Bill forms part of the Coalition Government's programme to 'implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion', and follows the passing of the Identity Documents Act 2010, which abolished identity cards. The Bill introduces a wide range of measures including the a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, a requirement for schools to get parents' consent before processing children's biometric information, a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the reduction of the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days. It also restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.
02.02.2011Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill [Bill 9 of 2010-11]
The Anonymity (Arrested Persons) Bill is a Private Member's Bill sponsored by Anna Soubry. It would prohibit the publication or broadcast of the name, address or image of a person arrested for an offence if such information would be likely to lead members of the public to identify him or her as the person suspected of committing the offence in question. These reporting restrictions would remain in force unless and until the arrested person was charged with the offence for which he or she had been arrested. In certain circumstances a Crown Court judge would be able to direct that the reporting restrictions should not apply, for example if publishing the identity of the suspect might lead to new complainants or witnesses coming forward.

Select Committee Reports

08.03.2011The National DNA Database.
Government response. Home Affairs Select Committee; Home Office report [Commons]
21.12.2010A surveillance society?.
Government response. Information Commissioner; Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
04.03.2010The National DNA Database.
Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House is deeply concerned that privacy is gradually being eroded by private companies using the internet to obtain personal data and selling it for commercial gain; notes ...
That this House notes that the Government provides EU Health Insurance cards free of charge, despite not being required so to do by European social security regulations 883/2004 and ...
12.01.2010INVESTIGATORY POWERS (S.I., 2009, No. 3404)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Covert Human Intelligence Sources Order: Matters Subject to Legal Privilege) ...
04.11.2009IDENTITY CARDS (S.I., 2009, No. 2575)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Identity Cards Act 2006 (Provision of Information with Consent) Regulations 2009 (S.I., 2009, No. 2575), dated 23 ...
04.11.2009IDENTITY CARDS (S.I., 2009, No. 2574)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Identity Cards Act 2006 (National Identity Registration Number) Regulations 2009 (S.I., 2009, No. 2574), dated 23 ...

Lords Library Notes

03.11.2011Protection of Freedoms Bill (HL Bill 99 of 2010-12)
This Library Note provides background information in advance of the Protection of Freedoms Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.
14.10.2010Identity Documents Bill (HL Bill 19 of 2010-11). LLN 2010/024
Identity Documents Bill. House of Lords Library Note 2010/024

POST Papers

15.07.2014Big Data and Business
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
15.07.2014Big Data Overview
This POSTnote gives an overview of big data.
10.07.2014Big Data, Crime and Security
This POSTnote examines the use of large and varied data in three key areas: crime prevention, crime detection and national security. It also covers regulatory issues and public perception about privacy, civil liberties and social benefits.
05.03.2014Social Media and Big Data
This POSTnote examines the application of 'big data' approaches to social media in three key areas: elections and polling, commercial applications and security. It also covers the regulation of social media data and public concerns around privacy.
31.05.2013Monitoring Internet Communications
Internet communications are often monitored to investigate criminal activity. Recent attempts to update UK regulation of investigatory powers have generated controversy. This POSTnote explains the use of different internet monitoring methods and discusses the impact of evolving technologies.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses