Investigatory Powers Commissioner ’s Annual Report 2019
17. Technology Advisory Panel
Section 246 of the IPA requires the Technology Advisory Panel (TAP) to make a report to
the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) about the carrying out of the functions of
the Panel. The IPC has agreed that he will make this report publicly available through his
Annual Report. The full text of the 2019 report is as follows:
The year 2019 was the first year in which the Technology Advisory Panel (TAP) was fully constituted
and active. Both as part of its general induction, and to ensure it gives timely advice, the Panel has
received a range of briefings, for example from the Security Services, the National Crime Agency,
and Home Office agencies. These were extremely useful for the Panel’s work, and we are very
grateful for the constructive spirit in which they were carried out.
The TAP’s primary responsibility is to advise the Investigatory Powers Commissioner and their office
(IPCO). Most of the advice provided has been at IPCO’s request, but where the TAP has chosen to
give advice of its own volition, that has been equally accepted and welcomed.
The TAP also initiated a wider consultation on Metrics of Privacy, ways of measuring intrusions on
privacy. It is working actively on extending its range of more outwardly facing activities designed to
encourage and access research relevant to IPCO’s work.
It has been very encouraging that other jurisdictions, particularly in the Five Eyes, have shown
an interest in emulating the way that the TAP has been set up, and in the function that it fulfils.
Overall, I hope and believe that the TAP provides a very important function in ensuring that the
Investigatory Powers Commissioner has access to the best possible scientific and technological
advice, and has done so on very limited resource, around one person-year in total.
I would like to pay tribute to the founding Commissioner Sir Adrian Fulford both for his unstinting
support for the TAP and for his strong defence of the TAP’s independence, including from IPCO
itself. It has been an equal pleasure working with his successor Sir Brian Leveson, and with all the
Judicial Commissioners and IPCO staff.
Sir Bernard Silverman FRS, Chair of the Technology Advisory Panel