The House of Lords currently has two Bills going through their Committee stages which we are trying to keep an eye on.
The controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, does indeed appear to be set to lose Clause 3 which would have allowed Law Commission reports "with or without amendments" to change the Common Law by Order of a Minister i.e. even if the Law Commission report is cherry picked and only partially implemented.
Their Lordships only got as far as Clause 1 in Monday, but Clause 3 was mentioned several times. The next session for this Committee is next Monday.
Similarly, the Police and Justice Bill only got as far as Clause 15 on Tuesday, with only one vote, which the Government won.
Tomorrow Thursday 6th might see the controversial amendments to the Computer Misuse Act. and the controversial UK-USA Extradition Treaty debated.
The tabled Amendments to the Computer Misuse Act modifications in Clause 41 and 42 now include:
THE EARL OF NORTHESK
178 Page 33, leave out line 24
THE EARL OF ERROLL
178ZA Page 33, line 24, leave out "likely" and insert "primarily"
The Eral of Errol's amendment is a weaker version of the Earl of Northesk's, in that instead of deleting the offending subsection, it modifies it to make the vague test a bit more specific.
If "(b) believing that it is likely to be so used." remains unaltered, then it will have dire consequences for legitimate IT systems adminstrators, computer security programmers etc. as their every day, and custom modified tools and programmes which they use for legitmate purposes, can all be used for malicious ones, by sombody, sowhere in the world, and they all know and belive that to be the case.
The text which they both refer to is:
41 Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in computer misuse offences
After section 3 of the 1990 Act there is inserted—
“3A Making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section 1 or 3
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he makes, adapts, supplies or offers to supply any article—
(a) intending it to be used to commit, or to assist in the commission of, an offence under section 1 or 3; or
(b) believing that it is likely to be so used.
(2) A person is guilty of an offence if he obtains any article with a view to its being supplied for use to commit, or to assist in the commission of, an offence under section 1 or 3.
(3) In this section “article” includes any program or data held in electronic form.
(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
(b) on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory
maximum or to both;
(c) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine or to both.”
THE BARONESS SCOTLAND OF ASTHAL
178A Page 33, line 39, at end insert—
"( ) The amendments made by subsection (2) of section 39 apply only where every act or other event proof of which is required for conviction of an offence under section 1 of the 1990 Act takes place after that subsection comes into force."
178B Page 33, line 41, at beginning insert "subsection (3) of"
178C Page 33, line 43, leave out "section" and insert "subsection"
It is hard to say if this Government amendment really means Section 40 subsection 2 rather than Section 39 which does not include any subsection 2 - perhaps all the numbers have changed if a Clause has been deleted.
Either way it appears to be concerned only with the transitional period i.e. an offence or a string of offences some of which might have started before theis section of law comes into force.
Will either the noble Earls' amendments be accepted ?
What possible excuse is there for the Government not to accept these amendments ?