Interception Of Communications

Interception Of Communications

The interception of communications includes listening to the calls made on a telephone or opening and reading the contents of a target's letters or e-mails. This is only allowed under the authority of a warrant signed by the Secretary of State (usually the Home Secretary) where they are satisfied it is necessary and proportionate, and must be approved by a Judicial Commissioner.

These warrants are issued under the terms of Part 2 of the Investigatory Powers Act, and our conduct under such a warrant is in accordance with the Interception of Communications Code of Practice. The retention and disclosure of material obtained under a warrant is subject to safeguards, as set out in the IPA.

MI5 can also request communications data under part 3 of the Investigatory Powers Act. As with interception, MI5 must show that obtaining such communications data is necessary for one of the purposes set out in the Investigatory Powers Act, and that it is proportionate to do so. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office oversees the acquisition and use of intercepted communications and communications data.

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All MI5 officers are based in London