Introducing the Policy Database

This section of the website compiles research into the policy surrounding the surveillance state, by Ian Brown, Josh Cowls, and Ben Zevenbergen of the Oxford Internet Institute. It is partially based on background from Brown’s FORES report, but mainly from the three major reviews published in this area in 2015, by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Royal United Services Institute, and Intelligence and Security Committee, as well as recent cases at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and High Court.

The research is presented in the form of summaries of key issues, with links between related content. The entries have been sorted into three groups: actors, law (including statutes and case law) and powers. The full, linked list of pages currently in the database is below.


Oversight bodies

Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation

Intelligence Services Commissioner

Interception of Communications Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal

Intelligence and Security Committee



Law enforcement bodies


Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Intelligence and Data Sharing



Statute law

European Convention on Human Rights

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

Justice and Security Act 2013

Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

Telecommunications Act 1984

Intelligence Services Act 1994

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Human Rights Act 1998

Data Protection Act 1998

Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015

Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006

Key cases

Liberty and Others v GCHQ and Others (2014)

Digital Rights Ireland

The IPT ruling in Belhadj

Davis and Others vs The Secretary of State for the Home Department



Interception of telecommunications

Access to communications data

Breaking into computer systems


Intrusive and targeted surveillance


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