A Tale of Three Bills: Committee work begins

In both the UK and Australia, committee work on the internet surveillance proposals has begun.

To begin locally, the British Joint Select Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill has been created. This was done by four motions; one in each house authorising a committee to be formed and one in each house appointing the members as elected/chosen by each party/group in each house. In procedural terms, the joint committee is two select committees which meet with each other.

It had its first meeting in private on the 3rd of July; it’s first public meeting is today. It’s chaired by Lord Blencathra, a former MP and minister of state at the Home Office in the 1990s and features Dr Julian Huppert, a strong advocate for internet privacy, Lord Jones, former member of the Prime Minister’s Committee on Intelligence and Security, and Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, a former cabinet secretary.

It’ll have another two meetings Wednesday and Thursday. Worth keeping an eye on. The current deadline is for the 30th of November 2012.

In Australia, the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is a standing committee of the Australian Parliament and announced its inquiry’s terms of reference after a month of negotiation with the Attorney General Nicola Roxon. The committee is high-powered with Kevin Rudd MP, former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Andrew Wilkie MP, the influential independent, Senator George Brandis SC, deputy leader of the opposition, Philip Ruddock MP, former Attorney General, Senator David Johnston, former Minister for Justice and Customs, and is chaired by Anthony Byrne MP.

I’ll write in detail on the proposals soon – I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

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