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.

Commons Briefing Papers

02.06.2016Investigatory Powers Bill: Committee Stage Report
The Investigatory Powers Bill was introduced on 1 March 2016 and received its second reading on 15 March.There were sixteen sittings of the Public Bill Committee, including two evidence sessions. The Bill is due to have its report stage on 6 June 2016.
11.03.2016Investigatory Powers Bill
The Investigatory Powers Bill would overhaul the framework governing the use of surveillance by the intelligence and security agencies and law enforcement to obtain the content of communications and communications data. It follows three important reports published in 2015, all of which concluded that the law in this area is unfit for purpose and in need of reform, and a draft Bill that has been subjected to pre-legislative scrutiny by three parliamentary committees.
09.02.2016Wilson Doctrine
The Wilson Doctrine is a convention that MPs' communications should not be intercepted by the intelligence services. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal gave judgement on 14 October 2015 clarifying the Doctrine's status and effect and the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, published in November 2015, introduced proposals to place the existing arrangements on a statutory footing. This Briefing Paper sets out the background.
08.01.2016CCTV 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 Paper provides a summary.
07.12.2015Constituency Casework: Identity Theft
This briefing paper provides information to assist Members of Parliament and their staff in dealing with enquiries from constituents on identity theft and identity fraud. It includes sources of advice on: the signs that identity theft may have occurred, the steps to take in the event of identity theft/fraud, and how to reduce the risk of identity theft.
19.11.2015Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, published in November 2015, seeks to update and consolidate the legal framework governing the interception of communications and the acquisition of communications data by intelligence and law enforcement agencies
18.09.2015Confidentiality and openness in the family courts: current rules and history of their reform
This briefing paper considers transparency in the family courts, including communication of information and media attendance, and background on recent changes in this area.
12.06.2015Communications Data: The 2012 draft Bill and recent developments
A draft Communications Data Bill was introduced and scrutinised by Parliament in 2012-13. The draft Bill, referred to by critics as a 'snooper's charter', was not taken forward, following opposition from the Liberal Democrats. The Queen's Speech in 2015 promised an Investigatory Powers Bill, which is expected to replicate features of the earlier draft Bill.
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.
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.

Lords Library Notes

03.07.2015Reports into Investigatory Powers
This Note provides a summary of the recommendations of recent reports, including the report of David Anderson QC, and supporting material on the use of investigatory powers.
26.06.2015Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom
This Library Note draws on recent political developments to provide a concise background to ongoing discussions about human rights and civil liberties in the UK. It has been written to support the debate in the House of Lords on this subject on 2 July 2015.
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


24.05.2016Financial Technology (FinTech)
Financial Technology (FinTech) describes the application of digital technology to financial services. This POSTnote reviews how and why FinTech is being used, and the benefits and challenges it presents to the UK.
09.03.2016Digital Forensics and Crime
Digital forensic science is the process of obtaining, analysing and using digital evidence in investigations or criminal proceedings. Digital evidence ranges from images of child sexual exploitation to the location of a mobile phone. This note looks at the use of digital forensics by UK law enforcement agencies. It covers how evidence is obtained, the legislation and regulation in this area, and the efforts being made to address the challenges faced by practitioners.
09.03.2015The darknet and online anonymity
A very small proportion of websites use sophisticated anonymity systems, which allow their operators to conceal their identity if they wish to. This part of the web is commonly referred to as the darknet. The darknet helps citizens to protect their security and privacy and to circumvent censorship. It also facilitate organised crime, such as the billion dollar drug market known as Silk Road. This POSTnote discusses the challenge of preventing such crimes without compromising the other uses of anonymity technologies.
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.

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 ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses