The Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) 2016 has dramatically updated and consolidated surveillance legislation. It is a pivotal piece of legislation allowing the UK intelligence agencies to intercept and retain communications as well as to perform equipment interference to obtain data where it is necessary and proportionate to do so. Indicative of the interference that individuals may endure as a result of these powers, privacy rights must also be upheld. Although privacy rights are not absolute, it remains important that the Act strikes a balance between ensuring that capabilities can be used in aid of national security whilst upholding civil liberties. Although the Act has made considerable efforts to deliver an effective intelligence framework embedding both these concepts, it is questionable whether this has been satisfactorily accomplished. This dissertation will critically analyse whether a balance between national security and privacy protections have been sufficiently achieved. In considering the Act’s most contentious powers and new oversight provisions it will be concluded that whilst no such balance has yet been made, the IPA has significantly enabled capabilities to be fit for purpose whilst improving privacy safeguards.
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