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Lords do their worst on RIP

Home Office victory by one vote

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The government was nearly defeated again last night on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill.

The House of Lords voted against an opposition move that would have required the home secretary to sign warrants forcing companies to turn over decryption keys. But ministers won by just one vote. Had they lost, it would have been their third defeat in 24 hours.

The Home Office did concede one point - proposals over the warrant issue originally said a warrant would be OK if simply approved by a police superintendent or equivalent. The Home Office has rejected this and agreed to raise the level to chief constable. Last night it also conceded that chief constables would have to report such actions to the independent surveillance commissioner.

In the past couple of days, peers have voted to set up an independent body of Internet industry representatives to advise on the issue of ISPs fitting interception devices. They also said businesses should be reimbursed a "fair" amount for the cost of these "black boxes".

RIP gets its third and final reading in the Lords on Wednesday 19 July. ®

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